Covid-19 and flu vaccines for direct payment recipients and personal assistants

Covid-19 booster vaccinations

The government has now made Covid-19 booster vaccinations available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

To receive  a booster jab, you must have had  your  second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at least six months before.

Those eligible include:

  • people aged 50 and over
  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers, including personal assistants
  • people aged 16 and over:
    • with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19
    • who are a main carer for someone at high risk from Covid-19
    • who live with someone who is more likely to get infections, such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

How to get your Covid-19 booster

To access the scheme, you need to attend a GP practice or community pharmacy and identify yourself as a PA.

You may be asked to bring proof that you are a personal assistant and therefore eligible for a free flu vaccination. This proof can include:

  • a letter from your employer
  • an ID badge
  • a payslip.

We understand that personal assistants directly employed by a direct payment recipient will not have any of the above. If you require proof of eligibility letter, then you should contact the Direct Payments Monitoring team, email dp.monitoring@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Choice of vaccine

You will be given a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. These vaccines have already been given to millions of people in the UK. You will be offered the right vaccine for you which may be the same or different from the vaccines that you had before.

Like the previous doses, the vaccine will be given in your upper arm.  

Protection against severe disease from the first two doses seems to decline very slowly. So don’t worry if your booster vaccine is given a few weeks after the six month time-point. The booster dose should help to extend your protection into the next year.

 Booking an appointment

  • Most people will be invited to book an appointment by text message at a larger vaccination centre, pharmacy, or local NHS service such as a GP surgery. This should be at least six months after you had your 2nd dose.

People are contacted in cycles that can take up to two weeks to process. If you have not been contacted after this period it may mean that the booking system has not been able to reach you. In this case you should book via the alternative methods below:

  • You can book an appointment through the national booking system, if you are personal assistant, aged 50 and over, or clinically vulnerable.
  • Walk-in appointments are available at:
    • Queen Mary’s University London (Bancroft Road entrance), Mile End Rd, Bethnal Green, London E1 4NS. 11am to 6pm every day.
    • East London Mosque 82-92 Whitechapel Road, E1 1JQ. Every Tuesday, 10am - 5pm
    • Newby Place, 21 Newby Street, E14 0EY. Every Monday, 10am - 4pm
    • New City College, Poplar High Street, E14 0AF. every Monday, 10am to 6pm.
    • At local clinics in Tower Hamlets, set up by the council and local NHS. Appointments at local clinics can be booked through our online system https://forms.towerhamlets.gov.uk/service/book_a_covid_19_vaccination or by calling the council helpline 020 7364 3030 (Monday- Friday, 9am - 5pm).

General vaccination centre information will be kept up to date on the Tower Hamlets Council website.

Free flu vaccinations

Flu is a serious illness that can cause severe complications and death. Vaccination helps prevent individuals from getting flu or from spreading it to people who receive care and support. The flu vaccination protects you, your family and the people you care for.

Who is eligible?

All health and social care workers, as key workers, are encouraged to secure their vaccination against flu if they are directly involved in caring for people who receive care and support. This includes all personal assistants.

Flu jabs and direct payment holders

Direct payment holders can protect themselves from the flu by making PAs they employ aware of the vaccination. They should ensure their PA receives a letter of employment to prove their identity, to make it easier to access the vaccination for free.

Direct payment holders - that is the individual who receives care and support - and third-party employers should ensure that the PAs they employ are aware of the free flu vaccination and have the opportunity to access it.

Direct payment holders do not have to pay for flu vaccinations for PAs they employ, as the funding allocated to them is to pay for their own health or social care package.