Whilst great progress is being made to vaccinate people, NHS staff and some care workers, parent carer forums are raising issues about the position of SEND families and services with regard to vaccinations.
Forums have described a “post code lottery” across three clear areas related to SEND which is causing confusion and anxiety. These are
1. Vaccinations for vulnerable children – Covid vaccinations are currently not authorised for use on children. However, we are hearing that clinically vulnerable children have been vaccinated in some localities. The guidance from the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health outlines circumstances in which vaccinating children might be considered whilst making clear that these vaccinations would be “unlicensed use.” Message for paediatricians on children and young people and the COVID-19 vaccination programme | RCPCH
2. Vaccinations for unpaid carers – Unpaid carers are eligible for vaccination as priority 6 cases. Parent carers should contact their GP to ensure they are identified as such on GP records. Our partners at Contact have done a lot of work on this and you can find their guidance here: Covid-19 vaccination: your questions answered | Contact
3. Special school staff – in some areas special school staff have been vaccinated. In others, they have not. We have asked local authorities, healthcare systems and school to ensure that staff are vaccinated as soon as possible to enable special schools to reopen fully
The NNPCF have raised these areas to NHSE and to the Department for Education in a call for more clarity and a consistent approach across the country. However, much of this is down to local implementation and policy in particular local authorities and even GP’s surgeries.
The NNPCF will continue to highlight these concerns at a national policy level and local parent carer forums should continue to raise them at a local implementation level.