Elderly people and social care workers could be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine

Home Caregiver with senior woman in bathroom

The elderly and all health and social care workers are set to be prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine that has proven to be more than 90% effective.

German developers Pfizer and BioNTech announced yesterday that they plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.

Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised.

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The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said care home residents and staff were among those who should be given the jab first, followed by all those aged 80 years and over and health and social care workers.

Scroll down for the full priority list.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said today that the vaccine could be available by Christmas with a mass roll-out targeted “in the first part of next year”.

Commenting on the news, Vic Rayner, executive director of the National Care Forum, said the government must work with the care sector to enable a “swift and effective roll out”.

“NCF are very pleased to hear news of a vaccine for Covid 19. The virus has hit those receiving care very hard, and for many has left them isolated and disconnected from family and friends,” she added.

“The full prioritisation list represents a major step forward in terms of recognising the urgency with which a vaccine must reach all those who receive or deliver care in all different settings. Making this vision a reality is key.”

Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England said: “The news about the potential COVID-19 vaccine is very welcome.  We are appealing to the DHSC to work with the care sector in order to outline the process so that we can iron out any logistical issues in the delivery.”

Kathryn Smith, chief executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence, commented: “The news about a vaccine is encouraging, especially for people who access care services.

“It is important though to be guided by the science on any vaccine and nothing must be done in haste; we have to find the most effective vaccine programme to give us the best chance of bringing the virus under control. In the meantime, it is still vital that testing and PPE supplies are available in all care settings because infection control will still be an important issue for this virus for some time to come.”

Meanwhile, David Sinclair, director of the International Longevity Centre, has called for urgent investment in “adult immunisation infrastructure”, in order to ensure that older people on the priority list take up their rights to vaccination.

“In too many places we are already failing to deliver existing vaccinations to older people who need them,” he warned.

“We’ve had an age-related flu vaccination programme in the UK for 20 years, but we still fail to meet the WHO target of 75% uptake among older people.

“Clinical risk groups fare even worse with far too few people in these groups taking up their rights to vaccination.

“And with an overwhelmed NHS, and many ‘at risk’ groups and older people shielding or reluctant to get out of the home, it will be even harder to reach those most in need. We must double up efforts, be proactive and innovate.”

Sinclair added: “The UK remains a world leader in terms of our approach to the vaccination of older people. Government has started to build an infrastructure for delivery of a Covid-19 vaccine. We must ensure we heed the lessons of what works, based on our experience of delivering our influenza vaccination programme.

“It won’t be easy to get the vaccine out to those who need it. And we run the risk of leaving behind those who need it most if we fail to adapt our vaccine infrastructure now.”

The interim guidance from the JCVI says the order of priority should be:

  1. older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over
  5. all those 65 years of age and over
  6. high-risk adults under 65 years of age
  7. moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
  8. all those 60 years of age and over
  9. all those 55 years of age and over
  10. all those 50 years of age and over
  11. rest of the population (priority to be determined)

The final decision on the prioritisation for health and social care workers will be dependent on vaccine characteristics and the epidemiology at the start of any programme, the JCVI said.

Tags : coronavirusvaccine
Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke


  1. I am the principal carer for my 91 yr old mother & look after her 24hrs a day. Will l therefore be able to have the vaccine as well as my mother?

  2. I’m a carer at home for my disabled husband, and I am the only care provider for my 89 and 90 year old in laws in their home.
    I have taken my mother in law for her first jab, but father in law is housebound and frail.
    If I get sick that therefore is 4 of us that need urgent help across 2 households.
    I have no children, there is no other family help for them.
    We unpaid carers are really undervalued

  3. Me also , my mother us 84 and I care for her 24/7 . looks like we are not getting a reply from this site regarding our questions on this matter. We are careers so in fact we should get the vaccine but looks as though this us not going to happen. I haven’t mixed with any outsiders or seen my grandchildren for nearly a year like a lot of others out there..

    1. Hi all, the government guidance is that social care professionals – paid-for carers – will be prioritised in group 2 for the vaccine. Unpaid carers under the age of 65 will be prioritised in Group 6 for the COVID-19 vaccine. Carers aged 65 and above will be able to access the vaccine earlier under the initial groupings. I hope that helps and sorry for the delay. Best wishes, Sarah Clarke (editor)

  4. I’m also a carer looking after my mum who has dementia I live with mum and care 24/7, will I be included for the jab along with key workers ?

  5. I am a carer working I. The community visiting vulnerable elderly clients when will I be eligible for the COVID vaccine

  6. I care for my 83 year old dad.hes had his first well as caring for him I’m type 2 diabetic so I’m wondering when I’ll get the first jab

  7. I am a full time carer for my 93 year old mum , I will be 65 in April , do I qualify for the covid vaccine

  8. I’m 62 and a multi carer for my 2 grandchildren age 11 and 9
    (9 year old asthmatic on immune suppressant drugs) ,
    Also my aspergers daughter who lives independently has 6 children, one aspergers son one autistic son,
    Also my 34 year old son aspergers with severe mental health issues
    I also have mitral valve issues, heart murmur and circulatory problems myself.
    Should I get the vaccine sooner than over 60s because if I get this the whole pack of cards falls down as I will probably die from this.
    I feel I am in as much need as a care worker in a care home.

  9. I am an unpaid career for my 91 year old mother in law who has dementia I see her every day as we have been trying to get her in to a home but because of co vid we feel she is safer in her own home do I qualify for the vaccine if I get sick who looks after her

    1. Hi Helen, as above, the government guidance is that social care professionals – paid-for carers – will be prioritised in group 2 for the vaccine. Unpaid carers under the age of 65 will be prioritised in Group 6 for the COVID-19 vaccine. Carers aged 65 and above will be able to access the vaccine earlier under the initial groupings. Have you thought about getting professional carers in to look after your mother in-law in her own home? There is lots of information on this site about providers that offer this service and its often cheaper than paying for a care home. Best wishes, Sarah Clarke (editor)

  10. I am disabled man,age 75 (I am having my CovId vaccination. my wife is my full time paid carer she is age 60 and is disabled herself..Would she be allowed to have her vaccination soon.

    1. Hi Bernard, paid carers are second in line to have the vaccine, behind the elderly, care home residents and staff. News about the vaccination of carers in the community should be available in the next week or so. Keep visiting HCI for updates. Many thanks, Sarah

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