The Scottish Government and NHS Scotland have launched a self-registration service for the COVID-19 vaccination for eligible unpaid carers who have not already been given an appointment.
This FAQ document is intended to answer some of your questions about eligibility for this service and what you can expect when you self-register.
1. Which unpaid carers are eligible to be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccination?
You are eligible for vaccination at this stage and should register if all of the following statements apply to you:
- You are 16 to 64 years old;
- You provide face-to-face care and support to one or more family members, friends or neighbours;
- The care you provide is not part of a contract or voluntary work;
- If caring for someone under 18, they are affected by a disability, physical or mental illhealth, developmental condition or substance misuse; and
- You have not already received your first COVID-19 vaccination or vaccination appointment letter.
Am I included if I meet the above criteria, even though I don’t get Carer’s Allowance?
Yes, you do not need to be in receipt of Carer’s Allowance to now be eligible for priority vaccination as an unpaid carer.
Am I included if I meet the above criteria, if I am a parent carer?
Yes, parent carers looking after a child who needs care due to a disability or long term health or developmental condition are included in priority group 6.
Am I included if I meet the above criteria, even though I’m not registered as a carer with my GP?
Yes, you do not have to be registered as a carer with your GP to be included in priority group 6.
If there is more than one person providing care to the same person that both meet the criteria above, can we each get the vaccine?
Yes, multiple carers for the same person can now be eligible to receive the vaccination.
I am a carer over 65, when will I get the vaccine?
Unpaid carers aged 65 and over have already been offered the vaccination. If you are 65 plus and have not had your appointment letter yet, please visit NHS Inform instead of using the self-registration system. This will provide details of how to register a missing appointment with your local Health Board.
I am a kinship carer who looks after a child with extra support needs due to a disability, long term health or developmental condition. Am I eligible for the vaccine as part of this group?
Yes, you would also be considered an unpaid carer due to the caring responsibilities you have due to your child’s additional needs.
I am a foster carer who cares for a child with extra support needs due to a disability or condition. Am I eligible for the vaccine as part of this group?
No. Foster carers provide care as part of their fostering agreement therefore are not considered unpaid carers.
What if I do not meet the above criteria?
If you do not meet the above criteria (for example, you provide only emotional support by phone/video call), then you will be asked to wait until NHS Scotland contacts you to let you know it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It is important not to contact NHS Scotland for a vaccination before then.
2. Where am I on the priority list?
Unpaid carers aged between 16 and 64 are now eligible to come forward for the COVID-19 vaccine. Unpaid carers aged 65 and over have already been offered the vaccine due to their age.
The priority list has been guided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which provides independent scientific advice on immunisation to all UK Health Departments, including on the efficacy and safety of vaccines and priority groups to be vaccinated.
3. When will I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Many carers will already have received appointment letters for the COVID-19 vaccination, either due to their age, a pre-existing condition, or having been identified as carers through Social Security or GP data. Carers who have not already been identified and given an appointment, who meet the criteria above, will be able to self-register for the vaccination from 8 am, Monday 15 March.
4. How do I self-register as a carer for the COVID-19 vaccination? What can I expect from the process?
From 8 am on Monday, 15 March, a dedicated website found at nhsinform.scot/carersregister will allow those not yet contacted, to register as an unpaid carer for the COVID-19 vaccination.
When registering, you will be asked to confirm that you meet all of the above criteria. You will be asked to provide the following information about yourself to help NHS Scotland identify you:
- Date of birth
- Address and Postcode
- Gender, as registered with your GP
You will then be asked your contact preferences so that once we have identified you, we can confirm your next steps through email or text.
Please register via the website if you can. For those who cannot self-register online, please call the Covid Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 from 8 am on Monday, 15 March.
Can I receive the vaccine at home if I am unable to leave home due to caring responsibilities?
People are being asked to do everything they can to attend their appointment at the location they have been given. This includes finding replacement care, where possible. Some home vaccination appointments have been provided in exceptional circumstances however this option is not being offered as a matter of course.
If you believe you are in exceptional circumstances and will not be able to attend any appointment outwith your home, you will be asked to use the Covid Vaccination Helpline option to self-register and speak with someone about the local options available to you.
Will I be allowed to bring the person that I care for (or dependent children) to my appointment?
If you are unable to find replacement care for those you care for, or dependent children, you can bring them to your appointment.
5. What happens if I cannot attend the appointment I have been given?
When you self-register as a carer, you will be notified of your vaccination appointment details. Please do everything you can to attend. Within your invitation, you will be given details to reschedule your appointment if you are unable to attend the date or time given or cannot get to your allocated venue.
It is important you get in touch to reschedule, even if this is at short notice. This will ensure vaccine stocks are able to be offered to someone else. You will not be penalised for rescheduling.
6. Is the vaccine safe?
Are there people who shouldn’t get the vaccine?
Information about people who shouldn’t get the vaccine can be found on the NHS Inform coronavirus vaccine web-page.
Which vaccine will I get?
NHS Scotland will only use a vaccine if it meets the required standards of safety and effectiveness. Further information can be found on the NHS Inform coronavirus vaccine web-page.
I’m worried about side effects from the vaccine, what should I expect and what should I do if I get side effects?
Some people may experience side effects after the vaccine. These are usually mild and are much less serious than developing coronavirus or complications associated with coronavirus. Any side effects usually go away within a few days.
For more information about common side effects and what to do if you are worried about your symptoms, see the NHS Inform side effects web-page.
After you get the vaccine, it’s still important to follow the latest government guidance.
7. Where can I go for further information?
There is further information on unpaid carers and the COVID-19 vaccination on the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 advice for unpaid carers web-page.
For further information, see the NHS Inform coronavirus vaccine web-page. If you have any enquiries about the COVID-19 vaccine, you can contact the Coronavirus Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am – 8pm all week).
Is there a helpline I can phone?
Yes, the Coronavirus Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 is available 8am – 8pm all week.
Is there accessible information available?
Yes, all leaflets will be available in accessible formats and languages. Please call the helpline for further information.