Vaccine booking system now open to frontline care workers in England

UNISON welcomes announcement that care workers who haven’t had a dose yet can make an appointment

Gloved hand holding vial of COVID-19 vaccine

Frontline care workers in England, who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination, can book an appointment for one through the national booking service from today, in what was welcomed as “good news” by UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea.

The move was announced on Twitter last night by care minister Helen Whately and comes after a recent survey found that only 32% of home care workers had received a first dose of vaccine.

Earlier today, the Guardian reported that more than 40% of staff at the country’s largest care home provider, HC-One, had not been offered the vaccine.

Initially for a period of two weeks, all eligible frontline care workers can access their first vaccination via the booking service.

This provides an additional option for employers and eligible frontline social care workers to access an appointment at a time and place that is convenient for them.

Social care workers can book a vaccination appointment with a local authority-issued notice of eligibility. They can now also use a recent letter from their employer, along with photo identification confirming their place of work. They need to be registered with a GP surgery in England to use the service.

For those who do not have a work photo ID, then as a minimum, a letter from their employer, together with another form of photo ID, will be needed.

Social care workers should inform their employers of their vaccination to enable this to be included in data returns.

UNISON member Tracey Morrigan is a care assistant in a residential care home in Lancaster. She had her first vaccination in January. “I must admit I was really surprised we got it so soon, and it went really well,” she said.

“The vaccination team came into the care home, set it all up in a visitors’ room and did two of us at a time. We’ve been really hard hit by COVID-19 in the last year, so it’s a relief.”

For information about booking a vaccine in Scotland, Cymru/Wales and Northern Ireland, visit the respective NHS webpages.