Care home residents all offered Covid vaccine but Government told to "step up" as staff still wait for jab

The NHS has now offered the COVID-19 vaccine to residents at every eligible care home with older residents across England, but many staff members are still waiting to get their jabs.

By James Holt
Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 3:45 pm

More than 10,000 care homes, that house older and vulnerable people have now been offered the live-saving jab in a milestone for the NHS vaccination programme, it was announced yesterday.

And the small remainder have had their visits deferred by local directors of public health for safety reasons during a local outbreak, but large numbers of care home staff are yet to receive their first dose.

To date, 9.2 million doses have been administered to the most vulnerable - including the over 75s and those living in care homes.

More than 9 million doses have been given out to the most vulnerable

The vaccines - made by either Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech - are being administered at hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries and vaccination centres, but industry leaders are calling on the Government to “step up” in vaccinating care home workers.

Ministers have warned there is still a “big big task” to give care home workers the jab by the middle of February, the target for offering all the high priority groups their jabs.

The Government’s vaccines delivery plan had originally stated it was the “ambition” to offer the vaccine to not just elderly care home residents but also the 1.6 million staff who look after them, by the end of January.

Yet some providers say that up to 40 per cent of their workers had not had a jab, after ministers yesterday claimed to have offered first doses to almost all of England’s care home residents.

There are now concerns about making sure all care home staff are protected from the virus

The news comes as Vic Rayner, the executive director of the National Care Forum (NCF) which represents not-for-profit providers, said just 27 per cent of its member organisations had 70 per cent or more of their staff vaccinated as of early last week, adding that access to the doses was the main issue.

Following the news yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today marks a crucial milestone in our ongoing race to vaccinate the most vulnerable against this deadly disease.

“We said we would prioritise and protect care home residents, and that is exactly what we have done.

“There will be difficult moments to come, and the number of cases and people in hospital remains dangerously high.

“But vaccines are our route out of the pandemic, and having protected 8.9 million people with a first dose so far, our rollout programme will only accelerate from here on.”

Professor Martin Green OBE and Chief Executive of Care England said: “The delivery of the vaccine to all care homes for older people is a wonderful achievement and one that pays testament to the hard work of care home staff and our colleagues in the NHS and Local Authorities.”

The government target is to give the first dose of vaccine to 15 million people in the four key groups by mid-February,

Lancashire care home managers spoke to The Post about their positive experiences getting their coronavirus vaccine.

Fulwood’s Sherwood Lodge were among the first to get the jab in Preston.

General manager Charlene Porter has a simple message for anyone in two minds about having the Covid-19 vaccine - ”Please don’t hesitate - get it done.”

She added: “It was quick, it was easy and nobody has had any side effects. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell people to have the vaccine.

“There is a lot of scaremongering out there but there is no need to be concerned - it has been a really positive thing.

“It has given reassurance to staff, our residents and relatives that we are doing all we can to protect them.”

Graham Parr, owner of the Brookside Care Home in Bamber Bridge, said: “We have had no problems whatsoever – and no side effects.

“Myself and my wife have both had it. At the most, there is a little soreness in the arm and that’s it.”

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by ​clicking here.