Further details on priority cohorts for COVID-19 Vaccination
The objective of occupational immunisation of health and social care staff is to protect workers at high risk of exposure who provide care to vulnerable individuals.
Frontline healthcare staff
This includes the following groups:
Staff involved in direct patient care
This includes staff who have frequent face-to-face clinical contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care in either secondary or primary care/community settings. This includes doctors, dentists, midwives and nurses, paramedics and ambulance drivers, pharmacists, optometrists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and radiographers.
It should also include those working in independent, voluntary and non-standard healthcare settings such as hospices, and community-based mental health or addiction services. Temporary staff, including those working in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, students, trainees and volunteers who are working with patients must also be included.
Non-clinical staff in secondary or primary care/community healthcare settings
This includes non-clinical ancillary staff who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care. This group includes receptionists, ward clerks, porters and cleaners. Laboratory and pathology staff Hospital-based laboratory and mortuary staff who frequently handle SARS-CoV-2 or collect or handle potentially infected specimens, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and blood specimens should be eligible as they may also have social contact with patients. This may also include cleaners, porters, secretaries and receptionists in laboratories. Frontline funeral operatives and mortuary technicians / embalmers are both at risk of exposure and likely to spend a considerable amount of time in care homes and hospital settings where they may also expose multiple patients.
Staff working in non-hospital-based laboratories and those academic or commercial research laboratories who handle clinical specimens or potentially infected samples will be able to use effective protective equipment in their work and should be at low risk of exposure.
Frontline social care workers
This would include:
- those working in long-stay residential and nursing care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality
- social care staff directly involved in the care of their patients or clients
- others involved directly in delivering social care such that they and vulnerable patients/ clients are at increased risk of exposure
Young people age 16-18 years, who are employed in, studying or in training for health and social care work should be offered vaccination alongside their colleagues if a suitable vaccine is available. Younger people who are taking part in health and social care work as volunteers, interns or for the purposes of work experience, should make all efforts to avoid exposure to infection; vaccination would not normally be required.