Invitation to attend a roundtable discussion on future vaccination strategy

Age UK and the NHS are hosting a roundtable discussion on future vaccination strategy on Friday 23rd September from 2:00 – 3:30pm. Find out full details.

Age UK and the NHS are pleased to invite you to attend a joint roundtable discussion on future vaccination strategy. The event will be held online on Friday 23rd September from 2:00 – 3:30pm. Chaired by Ruthe Isden, Age UK’s Head of Health Influencing, the event will also include opening remarks from Steve Russell, NHS National Director for Vaccination and will include a question and answer segment.

The objective of the roundtable is to help understand and improve the strategy work and thinking behind the NHS vaccination programme, including what the priorities should be going forward.

This session comes shortly after the NHS launched their autumn booster campaign. The discussion session with NHS England staff will provide the opportunity to share what you think is important to prioritise and consider, given your work in your local area and system, and your thoughts on what will work for older people who are frequently part of routine vaccinations.

Please get in touch with HealthInfluencing@ageuk.org.uk for further details and to let us know if you would like to attend.

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’s 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:

Important Guidance on Obligatory Vaccinations for all CQC Registered Services

From 1st April 2022, individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England (including secondary and primary care) must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, regardless of their employer.

On 11th November it became obligatory for all people that work in a care home in any capacity, to be double vaccinated against Covid-19. This same obligation is also being placed on any organisation with a CQC registered service or any with a patient/client facing workforce operating as part of a CQC-regulated service. From 1st April 2022, individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, regardless of their employer, including secondary and primary care. Find out more below, including who this regulation applies to and next steps you can take.

On 11th November, it became obligatory for all people that work in a care home in any capacity, to be double vaccinated against Covid-19. That meant that care homes had to dismiss (or redeploy out of the service) any of their staff and volunteers who had not been vaccinated by that date. In order to do this, they needed to prepare, both in terms of gathering the appropriate data on their workforce and also thinking about the process they needed to go though with any staff that were not double vaccinated by the deadline.

The New Regulation

This same obligation is now also placed on any organisation with a CQC registered service or any with a patient/client facing workforce operating as part of a CQC-regulated service. From 1st April 2022 individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, regardless of their employer, including secondary and primary care.

The government regulations are expected to come into effect from 1 April 2022, subject to parliamentary process. This means that unvaccinated individuals will need to have had their first dose by 3 February 2022, in order to have received their second dose by the 1 April 2022 deadline.

We know from the implementation of this new regulation in the care home sector that not every single volunteer and staff member will have been vaccinated by the deadline. Some people may refuse the vaccine for health reasons or other reasons personal to themselves. It is very likely that mandatory vaccinations in care services will put some people off coming into or staying in the care sector for their employment.

The overriding risk therefore is that this new regulation will increase the number of staff vacancies and make it more difficult to recruit to care services.

Who does the regulation apply to?

The new regulation applies to any person who works in a client or patient-facing role in any CQC-regulated service, even if their employer is not the regulated provider. It also applies to volunteers in similar roles. People in office-based roles who do not come into contact with service users would not fall under this regulation.

So, for example: an administrator in an office working in a Home Care team who does not see service users in their homes would not require double vaccinations, but a Foot Care Assistant in a regulated home-visiting foot care service, or a volunteer driver in a Hospital Discharge service would fall under this regulation.

Next Steps

We know that one-to-one conversations have been the most effective way to support colleagues to make an informed choice, often leading to vaccination uptake. Therefore, it is important for line managers to arrange and have supportive one-to-one conversations with unvaccinated staff members to identify reasons for vaccine hesitancy and provide information that will support them to make an informed decision about the vaccine.

You can find Covid-19 vaccine communication materials from the NHS here. Organisations should encourage individuals who have not yet been vaccinated to use the resources available and discuss with their own GP or trusted healthcare professional if they wish to have a further conversation or have any questions around vaccination.

It is important that these conversations with staff are supportive and empathetic, rather than coercive. It is also useful to try to make it as simple as possible for staff and volunteers to get the vaccine, for example by allowing time in work for them to do this if necessary, or giving them the locations of the nearest vaccine centres.

It is important that organisations gather the relevant intelligence on their workforce through these conversations – ask staff and volunteers to share with you their vaccine status and to demonstrate this with their vaccine passports, cards or letters. Record which staff have been vaccinated and which will get vaccinated.

Ensure that the deadlines will be met: for a first vaccination, the deadline is 3rd February 2022. For someone awaiting their second vaccination, this could be any time up to 31st March 2022.

It is vital therefore to record details of those staff and volunteers who intend to decline having a vaccination and the reasons why. Unless they are exempt, or later change their mind (it is worth having more than one conversation with colleagues in this position just in case) you will need to be clear with them what your procedure will be from an employment point of view when the deadline passes. Will you be able to redeploy these staff and volunteers to another, non-regulated service? Or, will you need to dismiss them on 1st April? The conversations you have with staff will need to make the consequences clear. Ensure you have sought HR advice on the dismissal process and what letters and other communication will be required for those staff.

Organisations need to start acting now to gather appropriate data and consider the actions required of them and their staff by 1st April 2022.

Contact

If you have any questions about this guidance, please contact: stuart.prince@ageuk.org.uk

Covid-19 Vaccine Uptake – Template press release for local Age UKs

Download a template press release on Rustie Lee’s work to highlight the importance of the covid-19 vaccination for older people.

Age UK’s Media Team has been working with TV personality, chef, actress and singer Rustie Lee to highlight the importance of the covid-19 vaccination for older people, especially those in Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

We have issued a press release to national newspapers on Monday 15 under embargo until Wednesday 17 March and we have also issued this release to a list of media contacts at publications specifically aimed at a BAME audience.

In addition, we have produced a template press release for local Age UKs which can be edited and shared with your local media contacts if you have time. This press release is also embargoed until Wednesday 17 March.

The local template and an accompanying photo can be downloaded on The Loop here.

If you are unable to access The Loop please email: theloop@ageuk.org.uk

If you have any questions about this press release, please contact: media@ageuk.org.uk

Vaccine Uptake Webinar Tonight

CORE (the Coalition of Race Equality Organisations) has organised an event to offer reassurance to people who are unsure about the safety of the vaccines. This event is taking place tonight at 6:30pm and you can sign up below or find out more information here.

We apologise for the short notice but we have just been made aware of this event and still wanted to let you know in case you can attend tonight.

Covid-19 Q&A Webinar

An opportunity to hear and ask questions about the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic and the plans around the easing of lockdown.

The Health Influencing team invites all members of the Age UK network to join our Covid-19 Q&A webinar on Wednesday 24th February 3-4pm. You will hear from the Health Influencing and Research teams about the plans and next steps for a route out of lockdown, and the latest on the Covid-19 pandemic including the impact of the vaccination programme and what that means for older people. It is open to all Age UK and Brand Partner employees including volunteers. Please circulate to those who might be interested.

To sign up via Eventbrite, please fill in your details below (or click here) and we look forward to welcoming you to the webinar!

Please submit questions in advance when you sign up on Eventbrite or by sending them to Healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk  by Monday 22nd February.

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions at the webinar, but please be aware we may not be able to answer all questions during this time.

The webinar will be taking place on Microsoft Teams, once signed up we will send through a diary invitation with the link.

The webinar will be recorded for you to view at your convenience. If you cannot attend but have a question, please do still submit it and we will be happy to try to answer it.

Please contact healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk with any queries.

Day Centre Covid Testing Briefing

From 1st February 2021 onwards, weekly routine testing is available for adult day centres. Find out all the details here.

The Department of Health and Social Care have announced that from 1st February 2021 weekly routine testing is available for adult day centres. Directors for Public Health and Directors of Adult Social Services for Local Authorities in England have been contacted and asked to pass the following information on to adult day care centre managers operating in their Local Authority.

What is the new testing regime?
  • The new testing regime means that all adult day care centres considered critical to be open during lockdown by their Local Authority can access weekly routine PCR testing for all staff.
  • Day care centres will be able to identify themselves as an eligible organisation using the online self-referral portal (more on this below), order a month’s supply of test kits, and distribute these to all staff for regular testing.
  • Day care centre workers will be asked to take a weekly PCR test at home between Thursdays and Sundays. All staff and volunteers working regularly in these settings should be tested, as well as private transport staff who support service users to attend.
  • Testing will enable staff to take the appropriate action following their result, including isolating immediately and for the next 10 full days if they receive a positive result to protect their colleagues and people who use the service.
Is my service eligible?

Services must be for adults over 18 and provided within non-residential care settings that support the health and wellbeing of adults. This includes settings such as:

  • purpose-built day centres
  • day centres attached to or part of a care home or supported living
  • other buildings in communities specifically used for regular adult day care
When can we start the testing regime?
  • From 1st February, local authorities have been asked to identify which day care centres are open using the eligibility criteria explained above and to pass this information onto eligible day care centres.
  • Eligible day care centres should use the self-referral portal to provide their details to NHS Test & Trace to access testing. Managers will need to enter the referral UON of 99915258 and provide details of their adult day care centre. They will only need to use this code once, this referral UON cannot be used to order test kits. Centres will receive a separate UON once they have been accepted for them to be able to order test kits.
  • NHS Test and Trace will then receive these requests and submit them to each LA. LAs have been asked to review these within 7 working days and accept or reject the request based on the eligibility criteria outlined above.
  • If accepted, day care centre managers will receive a confirmation email with their Unique Organisation Number (UON) and information about how they can order test kits for their staff.
How can day care centres order tests?
  • Once an acceptance from the LA has been received, NHS Test & Trace will email day care centre managers with their UON and instructions to place orders from the test kit ordering portal. This can take 7-10 days as the Local Authority reviews the application.
  • You will then be able to place orders for all staff every 28 days.
What if I run multiple day centres?
  • Organisations which run multiple day care centres at various locations will need to register each centre separately and use multiple UONs, even if the contact details for each of these are the same.
How can I find out more information?
  • Sign up to weekly webinars hosted by DHSC & NHS Track and Trace. They will last up to 60 minutes and give detailed information about all aspects of regular testing, including: how to use the self-referral portal, ordering tests, preparing for testing, test kit delivery, registering test kits, returning test kits, results and what they mean for adult day care centres.
  • The session will include a live Q&A with representatives from NHS Test & Trace who will be able to answer questions and address any concerns in the session.
  • The link to sign up to attend the adult day care centre webinars can be found here.
  • If centres are not able to attend the webinar, you should sign up and a recording of the session will be made available after the session.
  • Additional information is available in this Day Care Testing poster here.

Recording of Covid-19 Vaccine Q&A now available

The Health Influencing Team recently held an online Q&A event for the Age UK Network which covered the Covid-19 vaccine.

At the end of January, the Health Influencing team hosted an online Q&A for the Age UK Network on the Covid-19 vaccine. The recording of the event can be found here. Please note this link is for sharing internally only amongst Age UK and Brand Partner employees and volunteers.

Questions were submitted before and during the event and answered by Dr Elizabeth Webb, Head of Research at Age UK; Dr Adrian Hayter, National Clinical Director for Older People and Integrated Person Centred Care at NHS England; and Sue Harriman, CEO Advisor to the COVID Vaccine Programme and CEO of Solent NHS Trust.

We would love to hear your feedback on this online Q&A and whether there are any further topics you would like us to cover. Please contact HealthInfluencing@ageuk.org.uk with your suggestions.

Finally we would like to remind you that we regularly update our vaccine Q&A document and more general Coronavirus internal briefings and Q&A documents, which you can find in the Age UK Communications Coronavirus Hub. If there are questions you have that aren’t answered in these then please do contact us and we will try to find answer.

Covid-19 Vaccine Q&A Webinar

Age UK’s Health Influencing Team is hosting a webinar for the Age UK Network to hear and ask questions about the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The Health Influencing team invites all members of the Age UK network to join our Covid-19 Vaccine Q&A webinar on Wednesday 27th January 3-4pm. The aim of this webinar is to help you to be informed about the vaccine and speak about it confidently with the older people in your community.

There will be the opportunity to hear from the Health Influencing, and Research team, as well as a representative from NHS England about how the vaccine works, what the vaccine means for coronavirus restrictions, and how the vaccine roll out is working.

Please submit questions in advance when you sign up on Eventbrite or by sending them to Healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk  by Monday 25th January.

There will also be the opportunity to answer questions at the end of the webinar, but please be aware we may not be able to answer all questions during this time.

The webinar will be taking place on Microsoft Teams, once signed up we will send through a diary invitation with the link.

The webinar will be recorded for you to view at your convenience. If you cannot attend but have a question, please do still submit it and we will be happy to try to answer it.

Please contact healthinfluencing@ageuk.org.uk with any queries.

Please sign up below or click here to sign up on Eventbrite and we look forward to welcoming you to the webinar.

Information on the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out including scams to watch out for

Answers to some key questions on the Covid-19 vaccine as well as useful information on scams.

It’s great news that more than 4 million people have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Those aged 70 and over will soon start receiving invitations to get a vaccine appointment, as well as those that are clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid. The priority groups, including care home residents and staff should be invited to receive their first vaccine dose by the middle of February. A new article on Discover answers some key questions on the vaccine roll-out and how people will be contacted about their appointment.

Unfortunately, some criminals have been using the roll-out as an opportunity to take advantage of older people waiting to get the vaccine. There have been reports of scam text messages, calls, emails and doorstep visits. While scams such as these are rare, it is still very important to be aware of what to look out for. The advice is very simple: 

The vaccine is only available on the NHS, and you will never be asked to pay for it or to provide your bank details. 

Anything that suggests otherwise is a scam. Also remember that:

  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents

If you believe someone has been the victim of a scam, report this directly to Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040. If an older person is vulnerable and you are worried that someone has or might come to their house, report it to the Police or by calling 101.

COVID vaccines rolled out to people aged 70 and over from today

People aged 70+ and those clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 will be invited to get their vaccinations from Monday 18 January.

Millions of people aged 70 and over and those clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 will be invited to get their vaccinations from today (Monday 18 January) as the NHS begins roll out of the vaccines to the next two priority groups.

The NHS has so far been working to vaccinate the first two priority cohorts recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which are care home residents and staff, and those aged 80 and over and frontline health and care staff.

Vaccinating the first two groups will remain the priority, but vaccination sites which have enough supply and capacity for vaccinating further people are allowed to offer vaccinations to the next two cohorts – those aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable people. For more information, read the Department for Health and Social Care latest press release.