When will independent and unpaid carers receive Covid vaccines?
- Credit: Brenda Muse
Freelance and home carers are seeking answers over when they will receive jabs to protect against coronavirus.
Self-employed carers and those looking after loved ones want clarity on their vaccine eligibility, as the nation's vaccination programme gathers pace.
Last week it was revealed almost a quarter of people in Norfolk and Waveney have had at least one dose, while jabs have been offered to residents and staff at more than 95pc of the area's care homes.
While frontline health and social care workers are among the top four priority groups, those who are not employed by the NHS, councils or care providers do not feature on the official list.
One person worried by the absence is Brenda Muse, a full-time carer for her husband, Alan, who suffers from a rare form of asbestos-related cancer called mesothelioma.
The couple, from Diss, travelled to Attleborough's Connaught Hall last week as Mr Muse received his first dose, but Mrs Muse, 66, remains in the dark.
"I did ask whether I could have a jab in Attleborough, but they said they have to follow the guidelines which I completely understand," she said.
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"It would have made sense for my husband and I to have it together, but it seems I am going to have to wait until my age group comes around.
"Alan having his jab has reassured me in some ways, but we are not out of the woods yet.
"Unfortunately it tends to be unpaid carers who are missed out."
With the vaccine roll-out progressing, the government's mid-February target for inoculating the top four groups is fast approaching.
On Friday, the Cabinet Office announced all nine priority cohorts should get initial shots "by May", but questions remain over independent carers.
Norfolk and Waveney CCG has, however, unveiled a taskforce which is working with councils, charities and voluntary groups to identify everyone in a care role.
And the CCG confirmed all carers will be vaccinated alongside priority groups five and six.
A spokesman added: “We know there are many carers like Mrs Muse across Norfolk and Waveney, and are pleased we will soon be able to roll out vaccines to those who provide crucial care to people in the community.”