Covid-19 Update: Latest Briefing | Vaccine FAQs | Priority Vaccination Letter for Carers | Antiviral Treatment Trial

There’s lots of information in this latest Covid-19 update, including the latest briefing and vaccine FAQs. There’s also a priority booster vaccine letter for carers, and information on a new antiviral treatment trial.

This Covid-19 update covers the release of the latest Covid-19 Briefing from the Health Influencing Team, which can be downloaded below along with the latest FAQs about the Covid-19 vaccine. There’s also information on priority vaccinations for carers, including a letter from DHSC which can be given to unpaid carers or care staff without other ID to use as proof of status. Lastly, there’s some information about a study that the NHS is rolling out to trial new antiviral treatments for coronavirus. Full details on all of these topics can be found below.


Latest Covid-19 Briefing & Vaccine FAQs

The latest Covid-19 Internal Briefing is available for you to download below along with the latest FAQs on the Covid-19 Vaccine. The Briefing contains information on the Omicron variant along with some upcoming key dates. The vaccine FAQ covers questions recently asked by Brand Partners on the topic of vaccination and their obligations as employers.

Both documents are for internal use only.


Priority booster vaccinations for paid and unpaid carers

Care staff and unpaid carers should be given priority at vaccination sites in order to get their booster jab. Please find below a letter from DHSC which can be given to unpaid carers or care staff without other ID as proof of status. We encourage you to download and share this letter with any relevant contacts across your networks to ensure that all frontline health care workers, social care staff, and unpaid carers can access a booster jab with as much ease as possible. Thank you.


New NHS Study into Antiviral Treatments for Coronavirus

Age UK’s Health Influencing Team have also been asked to raise awareness about a study that the NHS is rolling out to trial new antiviral treatments for coronavirus. Antivirals are a treatment usually taken in the early phase of an illness as soon as symptoms are detected, they aim to contain the virus and prevent it from progressing into a more serious illness.

Eligible patients will be contacted by the study team or a local healthcare professional to consider enrolling in the study, so we wanted to let you know about the study in case you receive any questions from those you work with.

This is not a medical trial, these treatments have already been approved by the MHRA as the medical regulator as safe and effective. The aim is to see whether prescribing the drugs as standard to some groups of patients when they test positive for coronavirus can help significantly reduce the number of people who need hospital care.

There are two possible treatments available:

  • The PANORAMIC national study is trialling oral antiviral drugs that can be taken at home. Anyone over the age of 50, who has been diagnosed with coronavirus within the last 5 days and has active symptoms, can volunteer to get involved. Antiviral drugs will be sent directly to people‚Äôs homes and individuals will be supported by a remote medical team. Care home residents are also eligible to participate and some care homes are working directly with the study organisers.
  • In addition, the most high risk patients are proactively being offered direct access to intravenous antivirals. These drugs are administered in hospital via a drip and are only available to those groups. Eligible potential patients will receive a letter or email explaining the trial and providing more information on how they will be contacted to participate if they test positive. Individuals who meet the criteria but have not been contacted can ask to be included via their GP or consultant.

The briefing below provides more information on the study, the treatments and eligible patients:

Template Letter to support unpaid Carers during lockdown

NHS England have created a template latter that unpaid carers can use if they need to explain why they are visiting different homes frequently.

NHS England have issued a template letter to provide support for unpaid carers who may need to provide an explanation as to why they need to be out more frequently or visit different homes under greater lockdown restrictions due to caring responsibilities. Age UK partners are able to distribute the letter to those who are suitable and there is guidance provided on how and when it can be issued.  

It is important that the letter is not made available for public download but issued on an individual basis where it could be helpful.

There are two documents attached below:

  • The template letter
  • Guidance on using the letter

If you have any questions about using the letter or the guidance please contact Health Influencing at healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk.