Identifying carers and care workers eligible for a flu vaccination

Identifying carers and care workers eligible for a flu vaccination

November 2, 2018

Carers and employed care workers who are aged 18 years or over are included in the group of patients eligible for an NHS flu vaccination under the national Flu Vaccination service.

It is really important for carers and care workers to get vaccinated as if they were to catch flu and become ill, the welfare of the people they care for could be at risk. By being vaccinated, they will also be less likely to pass on the flu virus to the people they care for, which could have serious consequences for their health.

Unpaid carers

It can be difficult to identify who is a carer. A carer is a person who provides unpaid care for a family member, partner or friend who cannot cope without their support due to an illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction. The term ‘carer’ is sometimes confused with a care worker or care assistant; however, the difference is that a carer is unpaid whereas a care worker or care assistant is paid for looking after someone.

In the 2017/18 flu season only 39.9% of England’s carers were vaccinated against flu, which was slightly lower compared to 2016/17.

Community pharmacy contractors are therefore encouraged to try to maximise the number of carers and care workers that they vaccinate. To help with this, there are resources available on the PSNC website, which were created by PSNC and Carers Trust, to assist pharmacy teams in identifying carers who may be eligible for a flu vaccination:

  • flu vaccination poster – this poster is specifically aimed at carers; and
  • the 60-second pharmacy flu chat – this suggests how you can engage someone you think might be a carer in a quick conversation about why they should consider getting vaccinated.

PSNC has also produced a small double-sided carer flu flyer which can be attached to patients’ medicines bags highlighting that carers are eligible for a flu vaccination and states three reasons why they should have a flu vaccination.

In addition, Carers Trust has worked with NHS Employers to produce a document which contains a script and FAQs to help healthcare professionals have conversations with carers about the flu vaccination.

All of these documents can be accessed on the Identifying carers eligible for a flu vaccination page.

Carers Trust has also produced ‘ten signs that tell community pharmacy teams that someone may be a carer’. These are listed in the box below:

Social care (employed care or domiciliary care worker) and hospice workers

Health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider or a voluntary managed hospice provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients are eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination.

To assist pharmacy teams, PSNC has produced the following resources:

  • template letter to local care providers – this can be used to inform them that community pharmacy teams can vaccinate social care workers;
  • template evidence of employment letter – pharmacy teams can share this template with employers of social care workers to use as proof of eligibility for vaccination; and
  • poster and counter top notice – this is aimed at social care workers to inform them they are eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination at the pharmacy.

These resources are available on the Flu Vaccination – promoting the service to patients page.

Further information on the Flu Vaccination Service can be found on psnc.org.uk/flu



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