Forum Central has been working to ensure parity of frontline Third Sector workers for both vaccines and testing.

As you will be aware, the national vaccination programme began before Christmas. More recently NHSE has asked local areas to begin to put processes in place to offer a Covid-19 vaccine to frontline social care staff who directly work with people clinically vulnerable to COVID19 and who need care and support.

The supply of the vaccine is limited at the moment, but we will be able to start offering slots for all eligible social care staff to receive the first of two vaccine jabs through one of two staff vaccination sites.  This is an ongoing programme and vaccination slots will be made available over the coming weeks for priority front-line staff.  It is important that you wait to be invited for your vaccine either through the staff vaccination route if you are eligible or to be contacted by your local Primary Care Network (PCN) vaccine site.

We are having to follow the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priorities and the guidance set out in the recently published in the ‘NHSE COVID-19 vaccine deployment programme: Frontline social care workers (JCVI Priority Cohort 2), Standard Operating Procedure’ document.  Over the next few days we will share with you further details of the prioritisation criteria to help you identify the most vulnerable and at risk staff and details of how to book the vaccine jabs using the online staff booking system.

Staff working in client-facing roles can and should continue to work with people in the community even though they have not yet been vaccinated and where it is safe to do so – continuing to adhere to safe working guidelines to minimise the risk of infection.

We will be sharing details of how to access this as soon as we have it, but in the meantime it would be helpful if you begin to collate names and contact details for your frontline workers to be put forward. Information about the vaccine can be found on the Leeds CCG pages here and you may find this FAQ guide for patients useful to share with your teams.

Lateral Flow Test (LFT) kits, sometimes known as Rapid Testing Kits, can now be made available to front line third sector health and care organisations and central hubs to enable the use of these tests with workers will be set up.

Contact us at [email protected] if you would like to find out more. This is not an easy undertaking and it may not be felt to have sufficient benefit for the significant effort it will take. Workers will still be required, regardless of the result, to work safely either at a distance or with personal Protective Equipment (PPE) BUT we have argued that parity of Third Sector Health and Care workers should mean your organisations should have access to Lateral Flow testing (along with Flu and Covid Vaccines) so that is why we are sharing this with you, so you can decide what is best for your organisation.