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Carers Included in Priority Group for Vaccination against Swine Flu

Posted Nov 30 2009 10:00pm

Last week the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson announced that carers are to be included in the priority group for vaccinations against swine flu.

The news was received with great joy by Carers and Organisations like Carers UK. The announcement comes following the welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Public Health, Gillian Merron MP, that carers of people who are immuno-suppressed would be a priority for vaccinations. Although this would have included a number of carers, it excluded people caring for sons and daughters with learning disabilities and other conditions such as incontinence.

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has advised that:

“Main carers for elderly or disabled people should be encouraged to take up vaccination. This is to protect the welfare of those being cared for who may be at risk if their carer falls ill. We will discuss the implementation of this advice with carers’ organisations, including a number of practical questions, such as how to identify the carers involved.”

Carers UK public affairs manager Emily Holzhausen said:

“We are delighted that Government has accepted our advice that carers should be considered a priority for vaccinations where they provide significant care.  We have received a great number of calls from carers concerned about what would happen to the person for whom they cared should they fall ill with swine flu.  We look forward to discussing how to reach carers with the Swine Flu ‘Tsar’ Sir Roy Taylor and his team.”

This an important step forward. Prior to this carers had expressed anger that professional care workers were to be offered the vaccine but not carers who are family or friends.

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