Guidance for coronavirus vaccinators

We have put together advice for staff involved with administrating the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine to people with sight loss. This does not replace or override general guidance or policies.

Some of those who are blind and partially sighted may already be known by various agencies. For example, they may be on the council’s sight loss register. However, there are also people in the community whose sight loss is not recorded. If you are unsure, just ask the person you are supporting if they have any challenges due to poor eyesight.

Our key recommendations to make the vaccination process as accessible as possible:

  • Ensure information sent to person with sight loss is available in an accessible format such as large print and braille.
  • Provide clear information on the location of the vaccine centre, including public transport options.
  • Make sure the venue has clear signage and good levels of lighting.
  • Ensure staff are trained to provide support to people with sight loss, such as providing verbal or sighted guiding where necessary.
On this page

Providing information in the correct format

Accessible formats can include; large print; braille; audio and email. Before sending any information, ask the person with sight loss what format they would like to receive it in.

When you are providing information in print, follow the Minimum standards for clear and large print from the UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF).

Transcription services, such as Ecom and a2i, can translate standard print documents into accessible formats. Other transcription companies can be found on the UKAAF website.

Helping to locate the vaccine centre

You can help someone with sight loss plan their visit to the centre by informing them of:

  • Public transport options closest to the centre (appointments after 9.30am are likely to be preferred).
  • Information about the centre’s location and accessible entrance points, including whether someone can be met outside the venue by a staff member.
  • What to expect when arriving at the centre.

It is also important that staff are aware:

  • That many visitors will have conditions or disabilities that mean they may need further support.
  • That all businesses and services have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities.
  • That there are different types of assistance dogs and different mobility canes.
  • That any issues relating to access for guide dogs owners should be discussed with them and reasonable adjustment requirements should be made.

Assisting at the vaccine centre

Face covering exemptions

Be aware that people with sight loss are exempt from wearing a face covering as it can block their remaining useful vision. They may be carrying a card or badge to show they are exempt, but this is a personal choice and is not required by law. If a person informs you that they are exempt from wearing a face covering, you should respect their explanation and allow them to enter.

Social distancing wearables

Disabled people including people with sight loss, older people and people with mobility issues may also find social distancing challenging. There are a number of wearable products that people may use to indicate to others that they want to maintain their distance but find it difficult. You should be aware of these resources so you can identify a person who may need some additional support.

This guidance was produced in partnership with RNIB and Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Need more information?

Get in touch if you want to know more about how to assist people with sight loss when administrating the coronavirus vaccine.