The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have confirmed that housing association staff working in sheltered and supported housing schemes will be offered covid-19 vaccination booster this autumn.
Care home staff, frontline health workers and social care workers are listed in the JCVI’s list of recommended vaccination groups, and the NHF has been calling for sheltered and supported housing staff to be included.
Following close engagement with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), we are pleased that the definition of ‘frontline social care worker’ will now include a direct mention of housing association staff in sheltered and supported schemes.
This redefinition is very welcome and will ensure that housing associations, who provide the majority of supported and sheltered housing, can continue to protect their residents and staff from covid-19.
NHS guidance advises that staff in care homes as well as social care and health staff are priority groups for vaccination.
The National Booking Service will open during the week commencing 5 September for health and social care workers, who can then receive their vaccination on the week commencing 12 September. Social care and health staff will be able to self-declare as workers in these areas, which the NHS hopes will encourage uptake.
Similarly, from 5 September, Primary Care Networks and other commissioned covid-19 sites should begin offering vaccinations to staff and residents of care homes. The rollout in care homes remains a priority for the NHS, who will be engaging with professional bodies on how to support care providers.
Alongside the vaccination programme, Public Health England have launched a new resource which seeks to encourage booster take up. The resource centre includes a communications toolkit, posters and stickers which are targeted to staff in care and health settings.
As with previous vaccination programmes, eligible groups will also be contacted through various means including SMS, letter and email.