Covid-19 Carer Support
Vaccines for younger people
Support is available for residents of Essex who need help to get to their booster jab appointments. Essex Wellbeing Service will be offering a free transport service to residents across the county.
If you are struggling with getting to your appointment you can call Essex Wellbeing Service on 0300 303 9988 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone line is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 7pm and from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.
The service has a list of taxi companies that can transport residents to and from appointments. They can arrange transport for residents free of charge. Callers’ needs will be verified, and they will be asked to provide their booking reference or a screenshot of their appointment confirmation.
The service can also help if you are struggling to get to first or second-dose appointments.
There are also a number of community transport options available if you are struggling to get to your appointment. These can be contacted directly by residents to arrange transport to vaccine appointments.
- If you live in Colchester or Maldon, contact Community360 on 01206 216600.
- Epping Forest Community Transport can be contacted on 01992 579556.
- In Braintree, contact Braintree Community Transport on 01376 557883.
- Tendring Community Transport can be contacted on 01255 436962 or 07948 055888.
- From 20 January: The government is no longer asking people to work from home.
- From 27 January: There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
- From 27 January: Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS Covid Pass. The NHS Covid Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.
- From 30 January: Some children aged 5-11 who are most at risk of Covid-19 will be able to get their first dose - see Vaccines for younger people.
- From 24 February 2022: People are no longer required by law to self-isolate if they have COVID-19. However, NHS advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you:
1. have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19 - you should take a PCR test
2. have tested positive for Covid-19
- From 21 March 2022: Spring Boosters are being offered to the following groups:
1. aged 75 and over
2. living in a care home for older people
3. aged 12 and over and have a weakened immune system
You will be contacted by the NHS when this is due - normally six months after your last dose.
See the section on Booster vaccinations for Carers.
See the section on Self-isolating.
Action for Family Carers has been working throughout the pandemic supporting Carers of all ages across Essex.
We are keen to understand the main worries, concerns and questions that many people have.
Our team of Carers Leads is here to support you through this difficult time and to help you have the confidence to get out and about again, when the time is right for you.
Cara Jenny Lisa Michele Nina
You may have questions about getting the vaccination, testing, when and how to self-isolate, what is a vaccine passport, how you can register as a Carer with your GP practice and particularly where can reliable information be found. The information below may help and we will update it as necessary to make sure this page is useful to you. Do let us know if there is other information you would like to see here.
Up-to-date Government information is available by searching NHS Coronavirus (COVID 19) but for some, this is not an option. You can also call 119. Calls are free and the service is open 7am – 11pm. This is a call centre and cannot provide clinical advice. For information about your health please call 111, or in an emergency 999.
It is important that your GP practice knows you are a Carer. You should not assume you're registered because the practice knows you care for someone; you need to formally register. This may be important in accessing booster jabs.
Carers UK has provided the following guidance and downloads for registering as an unpaid Carer with your GP:
A number of GP surgeries have a simple form on their website to help you register as a Carer, but we have heard that this is not always the case.
It is more important than ever to be identified as an unpaid Carer to ensure that you are correctly prioritised in group 6 for the coronavirus vaccine. Below are some helpful letter templates to help you register with your GP, please click on the relevant link below to download the template that you require.
Please note, these templates refer to legislation in England, but can be adapted for use across the UK.
Template letter to register with your GP (email version)
Template letter to register with your GP (print and post version)
If you're an unpaid Carer then you are invited to register with us directly here at AfFC. You can call us on 0300 770 8090, email email@example.com or live chat with us at www.affc.org.uk.
If you've had a positive Covid-19 test you need to wait before having any dose of the vaccine:
- Wait four weeks (28 days) if you're aged 18 years old or over.
- Wait 12 weeks (84 days) if you're aged 12 to 17 years old.
- Wait four weeks (28 days) if you're aged 12 to 17 years old and at high risk from Covid-19.
This starts from the date you had symptoms, or the date of the positive test if you did not have any symptoms.
Please choose a suitable appointment date when booking. You can also cancel and rebook an existing appointment for a later date if needed.
How to book a vaccine
This can be done online NHS Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination or by calling 119.
If you live in Essex and need help to book an appointment, you can ring 0344 257 6961 (open 10am to 4pm, local rate).
The recommended interval between first and second doses is now eight weeks.
There is more information on our fact sheet Booking Covid Vaccination.
If you are not sure whether to get your 1st or 2nd vaccination, we are happy to guide you to the most reliable sources of information so that you can make your own mind up -based on facts, not rumours.
You could look at NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines side effects and safety or for a more detailed report of reported side effects visit GOV.UK Coronavirus vaccine – weekly summary of Yellow Card reporting
If you want to get your jab but need practical help e.g. if you can’t leave the person you care for, then talk to us – we may be able to help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 770 80 90.
The Covid vaccination is free – but beware – there are scams out there. Read our information sheet Covid Fraud.
Third vaccine for those severely immunosuppressed
It is now recommended that people in this category aged over 12 (includes those with leukaemia, advanced HIV and recent organ transplants) should be offered a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. This is separate from the booster programme.
See more advice from Public Health England.
How and when to get your Covid-19 booster vaccine
- Book a vaccination appointment online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy.
- Go to a walk-in vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment.
- Wait to be contacted by a local NHS service, such as a GP surgery, and book an appointment with them.
Everyone aged 16 and over who had a 2nd dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago can get a booster dose. See above section if you have had Covid-19 in the previous 12 weeks.
Some children aged 12 to 15 are eligible for a booster dose if either:
- They live with someone who has a weakened immune system (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).
- They have a condition that means they're at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19.
Conditions that mean they may be at high risk are:
- A severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy.
- Down's syndrome.
- Severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they're on the learning disability register).
- A condition that means they're more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer).
If you have had a 3rd dose of the vaccine, you can get a booster dose from 3 months after your 3rd dose.
The government has taken steps to ensure that unpaid Carers can use a specific letter to identify themselves to gain priority for booster jabs. Please download the letter using this link: Letter to identify yourself as an unpaid Carer.
Book your vaccination appointment online
You can pre-book your Covid-19 booster dose online if it's been two months (61 days) since you had your 2nd dose.
You'll be offered appointment dates from 3 months after the date of your 2nd dose.
Go to a Walk in venue without needing to book
See below for links to local venues.
You can get your booster dose at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site if you had your 2nd dose at least three months ago.
Which Covid-19 vaccine will I get?
Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine.
This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for your 1st and 2nd doses.
Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
These are being updated continuously. No need to book but please check the website carefully as some sessions are for specific ages.
People aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. The second dose can be given 12 weeks after the first dose. Second doses will be offered in schools from 10 January 2022.
Younger people can book their Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination using this link:
Use this service to book a 1st or 2nd dose of the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination or manage your appointments.
Alternatively please see the above section for your local drop-in sessions. Some of these are age-specific,
Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.
Healthy school-aged children aged 12 to 15 will primarily receive their Covid-19 vaccination in their school with alternative provision for those who are home-schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings.
Children aged 5 -11 who are in a clinical risk group or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed can now be vaccinated. Eligible children include those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and some other conditions.
Parents and guardians should wait for the NHS to contact them for when it is their child’s turn to get the vaccine. All eligible 5-11-year-olds will be offered two 10 microgram doses of the Pfizer vaccine eight weeks apart – a third of the amount used for adult vaccinations.
The fear of needles is very common, and there are many resources that can help you manage your fear. See https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/covid-19-vaccine-support/
Local services all take self-referrals
South East Essex: Refer to Therapy for You (EPUT) - Needle Phobia Service.
01268 739128 or https://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/contact
Basildon and Brentwood: Refer to Vita Minds.
Thurrock: Refer to Inclusion Thurrock.
01375 898680 or https://inclusionthurrock.org/refer-yourself/
Mid Essex: Refer to Health in Mind (HPFT)-please contact to check that you are in their geographical area.
01376 308704 or https://www.hpft-iapt.nhs.uk/service/mid-essex
North Essex: Refer to Therapy for You. - Self-refer stating Needle Phobia
01206 334001 or https://www.therapyforyou.co.uk/contact
West Essex: Refer to West Essex IAPT service.
0333 0152966 or https://www.vitahealthgroup.co.uk/nhs-services/nhs-mental-health/west-essex/
The vaccination is now available for people aged 12 and over. We have specialist workers experienced in supporting younger adults and will be happy to talk through the options with you.
Feeling unsure about the vaccine?
Learn more about the vaccine, get answers to your questions and organise your jab when you’re ready.
Flourish with Jo Morton-Brown
Each video created by Jo Morton Brown, Emotional Health Practioner, will have a professional focus where different topics are discussed such as: emotions of feeling anxious/ stressed/ overwhelmed, the importance of finding a new routine, self-care, etc. It also suggests additional resources/ helplines for further support.
The Covid-19 vaccine is available to all pregnant women at any point during their pregnancy. If you’re expecting, here are five key reasons why you should get the jab.
1) Getting two doses is the best way to protect yourself from Covid-19
If you’re pregnant, getting both doses of your vaccine is the best way to protect yourself – and those around you – against Covid-19. Although the overall risk from Covid-19 for pregnant women and their unborn babies is low, some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment in later pregnancy. The vast majority of pregnant women who become seriously ill with Covid-19are unvaccinated.
2) Covid-19 disease can be serious in pregnancy
While overall the risk remains low, pregnant women with Covid-19have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Women with Covid-19 disease are also 2 to 3 times more likely to have their babies early than women without Covid-19. Pregnant women with underlying clinical conditions are at even higher risk of suffering serious complications from Covid-19.
3) The Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK are safe and effective for pregnant women
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are recommended for pregnant women in the UK
Pregnant women who have already had the AstraZeneca vaccine however are advised to complete with the same vaccine. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to discuss these with a healthcare professional looking after you in your pregnancy.
4) The vaccines might offer your unborn child some protection against Covid-19
Research suggests that protective antibodies in response to the vaccines can be passed from mother to newborn during pregnancy and through breast milk after birth. While it’s likely these would help protect newborns from Covid-19, more research is needed to determine how much protection these antibodies would give or how long that protection would last.
5) There is no current evidence of any serious side effects for pregnant women
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) thoroughly monitors any suspected side effects involving pregnancy and Covid-19 vaccination.
The current evidence does not show an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth following vaccination against Covid-19. There is also no pattern from the reports to suggest that any of the Covid-19 vaccines used in the UK increase the risk of congenital anomalies or birth complications.
The vaccines do not contain living organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.
For further advice, speak to a healthcare professional looking after you in your pregnancy.
For more information about pregnancy and the Covid-19 jab go to the Combined info sheet and decision aid 17.08.2021 issued by The Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
How the NHS protects against flu
Flu is unpredictable. The vaccine provides the best protection available against a virus that can cause severe illness. The most likely viruses that will cause flu are identified in advance of the flu season and vaccines are then made to match them as closely as possible.
The vaccines are given in the autumn ideally before flu starts circulating. During the last 10 years, the vaccine has generally been a good match for the circulating strains.
Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu virus circulating.
The harm flu can do
People sometimes think a bad cold is flu, but having flu can often be much worse than a cold and you may need to stay in bed for a few days. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. For them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.
Those at increased risk from the effects of flu
Flu can affect anyone, but if you have a long-term health condition, the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well. You should have the free flu vaccine if you are:
or have a long-term condition such as:
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or serious breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or some people with asthma
- a kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- liver disease
- had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- a neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- a problem with your spleen, such as sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
- you are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
This list of conditions isn’t definitive. It’s always an issue of clinical judgement. Your GP can assess you to take into account the risk of flu making any underlying illness you may have worse, as well as your risk of serious illness from flu itself.
Summary of those who are recommended to have the flu vaccine includes:
- everyone aged 65 and over
- everyone under 65 years of age who has a medical condition listed above, including children and babies over 6 months of age
- all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
- all 2 and 3 year old children (provided they were aged 2 or 3 years old on 31 August of the current flu season)
- all children in primary school
- all Year 7 to Year 11 secondary school-aged children
- everyone living in a residential or nursing home
- everyone who cares for an older or disabled person
- all frontline health and social care workers
Those aged 50 to 64 years old will also be offered flu vaccination this year.
For advice and information about the flu vaccination, speak to your GP, practice nurse, pharmacist or school immunisation team.
It is best to have the flu vaccination in the autumn or early winter before any outbreaks of flu. Remember that you need it every year, so don’t assume you are protected because you had one last year.
Booking a Flu Jab
Your GP will contact you
Use this NHS link to Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine. This may be quicker than booking with your GP.
Alternatively, just choose a preferred Pharmacy and book on their website. For example, Boots Winter Flu Jab Service.
Do you know how to access the different types of tests and when you need them?
Lateral Flow Tests
If you don’t have symptoms –a recent onset of:
- new continuous cough
- high temperature
- loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
but want to be sure you are not spreading the infection you can take a Lateral Flow test at home. The current guidance is that lateral flow tests should be taken twice a week These are available to everyone and can be posted to you via GOV.UK Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests or call 119.
If you would rather collect free tests, they are available at chemists and some libraries. To find out where enter your postcode on NHS Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests.
If you have any of the above symptoms, you need to book a PCR test and self-isolate immediately. You can also use this service if:
- You’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive and you must self-isolate.
- You need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms.
- You’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace.
- A GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test.
To book either home or site test go to GOV.UK Get a free PCR test or call 119.
You may need to have a test before a hospital procedure. If so, the hospital will arrange this.
Current rules for isolation
If you have symptoms and/or a positive Rapid Lateral Flow Test
You must self-isolate immediately.
How long do you need to self-isolate?
If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.
If you get symptoms while you're self-isolating, the 10 days restarts from the day after your symptoms started.
You may be able to end your self-isolation period before the end of the 10 full days. You can take a Rapid Lateral Flow test from 5 days after the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you did not have symptoms), and another test on the following day. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result.
You can stop self-isolating after 10 days if either:
- You do not have any symptoms
- You just have a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste - these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.
If you have a high temperature after the 10 days, or are feeling unwell, keep self-isolating and seek medical advice.
If someone you live with or you have been in close contact with has symptoms or tested positive
You need to self-isolate as above, UNLESS:
- You're fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- You're under 18 years and 6 months old.
- You're taking part, or have taken part, in an approved Covid-19 vaccine trial.
- You're not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons.
Even if you do not have symptoms, you're strongly advised to:
- Do daily rapid lateral flow tests (one a day for seven days).
- Follow advice on preventing the spread of Covid-19.
- Consider limited contact with people at higher risk.
- Tell people you've been in close contact with in the past 48 hours that you might have Covid-19.
How to self-isolate - NHS guidance:
- Do not go to work, school or public places.
- Do not go on public transport or use taxis.
- Do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home.
- Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care.
- Do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one.
You can temporarily leave self-isolation to:
- Post a PCR test or antibody test at a Royal Mail priority postbox.
- Get food or medicine if you cannot order it online or by phone, or you cannot ask someone to bring it to your home.
- Get urgent health services for you, your family and pets.
- Avoid harm, for example, if there is a fire or you are at risk of domestic abuse.
- Access services as a victim of crime, for example, if there has been a burglary.
- Help someone who is pregnant to go to a medical appointment, or to give birth.
- Go to the funeral of a close family member or friend.
- Meet legal duties such as going to court, taking part in court proceedings, or following bail conditions.
- Take part in NHS Covid-19 research, but only if you're asked to leave self-isolation.
If you have a specific question you can visit NHS Test and Trace Digital Service or if you cannot get online or your enquiry is urgent call 119.
If you are isolated at home and have no one to help you with shopping or medication then contact Essex Wellbeing Service on 0300 303 9988.
On 31 January 2022, the Government announced that it no longer intends to make full vaccination a condition of employment for frontline health and care staff.
Although shielding has now ended, some people have been told they are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV). They may be organ transplant patients, people with some cancers or severe respiratory conditions. People who have been told they are in this group have been told to be extra cautious.
The current advice is to:
- Get your vaccination as soon as possible
- Avoid indoor crowded situations particularly if people are not wearing masks
- Ensure rooms are well-ventilated when mixing with others
- Wash hands
- Do not go out if you have symptoms – get a test
- Isolate if told to by NHS Test & Trace
There are various ways of getting a Covid Pass. These range from registering and using the Covid App to calling 119 for proof to be posted to you. Please see our factsheet Proof of your Covid Status for further guidance but be aware there will always be a delay before you can show proof of vaccine.
- Get lots of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear.
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable.
- Lie on your side or sit upright instead. Avoid lying on your back.
- Try having a teaspoon of honey to help ease a cough. But do not give honey to babies under 12 months.
For some people, coronavirus (Covid-19) can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone.
Common Long Covid symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Problems with memory and concentration ("brain fog")
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Heart palpitations
- Pins and needles
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Tinnitus, earaches
- Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
NHS advice is to contact a GP if you're worried about symptoms four weeks or more after having Covid-19. You may be referred to a specialist rehabilitation service either face-to-face or to a digital programme - 'Your Covid Recovery’.
See https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/app/ . The programme is only accessible after referral by a Healthcare Professional who can provide a joining code.
Are you caring for someone who is recovering from Covid-19?
The NHS recognises that you also need to take care of yourself.
Recognise the impact that supporting someone is having on you.
Don’t blame yourself – you are human too!
Take time out to do things for you.
Speak to someone if you’re finding it difficult to managing your daily tasks with your caring duties. There are many support helplines and local charities available for Carers to get help and support too.
Take care of your health, make sure you are eating and sleeping well.
Take regular breaks, give yourself time to rest and relax.
Spend time with your friends (if not in person then by phone or video call).
If you’re able to go for a walk, exercise is good for both physical and mental wellbeing.
Confide in trusted friends or family about your own feelings, there’s a lot of truth in the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
Ask for help – You don’t have to do everything alone. Ask family and friends, join a support group, and make use of community support and online resources.
For more information see NHS Your Covid Recovery Family Friends and Carers
The legal restrictions that we have all lived with through the pandemic may have been lifted, but it is normal to feel anxious and a little hesitant to mix with other people again, especially if you are a Carer for a vulnerable person.
We would love to know how we can help you to gradually start getting out and about again. We already run a number of events that might interest you – see our Feeling Good Caring Well events on our website. We will be adding to this programme and if you have other ideas that you think Carers would find helpful then do get in contact. Perhaps a walk in the fresh air with other Carers might be a good idea to build up your confidence again?
If you’re unsure about getting back out there, check out:
From Mind: Managing feelings about lockdown easing and
From Young Minds: Coronavirus and mental health – a guide for young people
We are told by lots of our Carers that they put the health and wellbeing of the person they care for first – sometimes to the extent that their own health problems or worries are ignored.
Your own wellbeing – physical and emotional - is really important when you are a Carer so do make sure you spend some time looking after yourself. Look at our website for videos on relaxation, mindfulness and coping with anxiety.
Join our wellbeing programme, Feeling Good, Caring Well, and have some fun with others.
The following trusted information sources are the best ones for up-to-date information you can rely on:
For specific information about caring for Someone with cancer during the coronavirus pandemic, go to Macmillan Cancer Support, Supporting someone with cancer or call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.
- We run Day Centres in Maldon and South Woodham Ferrers to give Carers some time to themselves while knowing their loved ones are in a safe and stimulating environment
- We run Activity Groups for people with Dementia or Memory Problems – in Harlow, Dunmow, Epping and Witham
- Our wellbeing programme, Feeling Good, Caring Well puts on events across Essex aimed at helping you to look after your wellbeing
- We support Young Carers in schools and respite after school clubs
- A free, confidential counselling service for adult Carers in Essex
- Our befriending services are aimed at adults who are most likely to experience loneliness or social isolation: older people, people with learning disabilities, people with mental health needs and family Carers.