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New shielding assessment tool and vaccine rollout

This week the UK moved into the next stage of vaccine rollouts and developed a new risk tool to identify those who need to shield. Today we share further information about these announcements.

QCovid Population Risk Assessment

Oxford University have established a new risk assessment tool to identify people who may be at increased risk of becoming seriously unwell from coronavirus. This is because of a combination of their individual characteristics and their underlying health conditions. This tool is only applicable to those in England at this stage and those identified will be advised to shield until 31st March (in the first instance). This new tool focuses on adults and does not replace the previous assessment but is in addition to it.

This tool looks beyond factors such as age and health conditions which were used in the initial assessments. Instead, it includes additional risks such as ethnicity, body mass index (BMI), multiple health conditions and postcode, which is thought to pick up on levels of deprivation.

Those newly identified as being at higher risk will get priority access for vaccines if not yet received as well as the support shielding delivers e.g. priority supermarket slots, medicine delivery, statutory sick pay.

Government have stated that the tool takes a risk averse approach which means it is likely to overestimate the risk for these individuals to protect as many people as possible. Those identified will be sent a letter from Department of Health and Social Care acting as formal notification and to advise about the support available to them.

Government guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people

Vaccine rollout and unpaid/parent carers

We have moved into the next phase of the vaccine rollout which includes group six – all individuals aged 16 to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality – of which those with chronic liver disease are included.

The sixth group also includes those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person (child or adult) whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

This is the definition added to the Green Book:
“Adult carers – Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.” Greenbook_chapter_14a

If you are the main carer of the person you support you do not have to be in receipt of Carer’s Allowance to be considered a priority for the vaccine. However, in most cases you would need to be registered as an unpaid/family carer with the GP to be considered for the vaccine automatically.

Contact (charity for families with disabled children) have developed a template letter to provide to GPs if you are struggling to get access to the vaccine as an unpaid/family carer.

Other news

  • According to the vaccine taskforce there are indications that all adults could be vaccinated by August/September.
  • The Oxford vaccine is being tested in children as young as six alongside other clinical trials in children that were already taking place.
  • There is hope for three further vaccines coming up this year – Moderna, Novavax and Janssen. Learn more about the vaccines here.

CLDF are here to support you

Don’t forget we are here if you need to chat through any concerns. Families/parents can contact us by emailing or calling 0121 212 6023. Our Young People’s Digital and Engagement Officer (supporting young people 11-24) can be contacted by emailing, calling 0121 212 6024, texting 07928131955.

Information for each nation:

Northern Ireland

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