Revitalise urge Government to prioritise Britain’s home carers for COVID vaccine or face disaster if they catch virus

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3rd February 2021

Revitalise urge Government to prioritise Britain’s home carers for COVID vaccine or face disaster if they catch virus

As Health Secretary says Government is looking “very closely” into where unpaid carers fit into the vaccine prioritisation list, charity say NHS will face even greater pressure if unpaid carers catch virus

 

National charity Revitalise, who are offering emergency respite support to unpaid carers and their loved ones, have issued a plea to the Government to prioritise the vaccination of Britain’s army of home carers or risk the NHS becoming overwhelmed if they catch COVID-19. Without immunisation at the earliest possible opportunity, carers will no longer be able to perform their caring duties and our hospitals will be inundated. One family carer contracting the virus means at least two people needing extra support, doubling the impact.

This comes after a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening in which Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed the Government was looking “very closely” into where unpaid carers fit in the vaccine prioritisation list, following  input from Carers World claiming that unpaid workers still don’t feel recognised.

Whilst unpaid carers are labelled as priority group 6 for the COVID vaccine – recognising the important role they play in supporting the NHS – Revitalise say the reality is that many carers have still not been offered the vaccine, despite many being the sole provider for their loved ones.

Revitalise CEO Jan Tregelles said:

“Government need to immediately prioritise unpaid carers for the vaccination, if they are to continue providing the important service they do.

Home carers are vital to the lives of millions of people in this country and are not being given the acknowledgment they deserve. The NHS will be inundated if carers can no longer care for their loved ones.”

The charity are welcoming disabled people and carers through the doors of their Revitalise Sandpipers centre in Merseyside, in an attempt to circumvent some of the immense pressures facing unpaid carers, who have not been able to access a respite break for nearly a year due to the pandemic. The pressure is continuing to build for these carers, with no end in sight.

There are an estimated 13.6 million unpaid carers in the UK today, of which 4.5 million became carers since the pandemic began. These carers provide vital support, often around the clock, relieving enormous strain from the NHS.

One carer, Hilary, has been looking after her disabled son, Shaun, for 15 years following an accident during a holiday in Ibiza, despite herself having emphysema, chronic kidney disease, and a problem with her aortic valve. Hilary has faced enormous challenges since the start of the pandemic, and has yet to be offered the COVID-19 vaccination. She is forced to turn down any care support she is offered, as she knows it increases the risk of her or Shaun catching the virus.

Carer Hilary said:

“It’s a very scary feeling to be my son’s sole carer, and not be offered the vaccine and granted some level of protection. If I catch the virus, he is completely dependent on me, what are we supposed to do?  

I am offered night support to allow me some time to sleep in the evening, but I can’t take the risk of someone bringing the virus into the house with them, so I turn it down. I am exhausted, we desperately need the vaccination, and we need it now.”

Revitalise, known for providing respite care for disabled people and their carers, are currently accepting COVID-19 positive patients at their Netley Waterside House centre, in partnership with the NHS and are one of only 129 Designated Settings in the country approved to do so.

For 57 years, Revitalise has provided respite care breaks to a huge range of people. These are a vital lifeline to so many unpaid home carers and their disabled family members.

To enquire about coming to Revitalise Sandpipers for respite care support, please visit revitalise.org.uk To show your support for Revitalise and help them to provide subsidised care breaks during the pandemic, please go to: revitalise.org.uk/donate  


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