Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised every care home resident in the UK will be offered a coronavirus jab by the end of this month, as figures reveal that one in 10 residents in England has been given the vaccine.
He also said that by next Friday, January 15, the roll-out of the vaccine would be significantly increased, as he promised ‘hundreds of thousands of jabs a day’.
The PM said: “It is thanks to the arrival of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be stored at room temperature, that we can accelerate the pace of vaccination in care homes.
“We’re using that vaccine in care homes for the first time today and by the end of the month we hope to have offered every elderly care home resident a vaccine.”
And added that by the end of next week there will be over 1,000 GP led sites, 223 hospital hubs, seven “giant vaccination centres” and a first wave of 200 community pharmacies administering vaccines to achieve their February 15 deadline for everyone in the top four vulnerable groups to have been offered a vaccine.
The Independent Care Group, said it is heartening that care homes are a high priority and have been promised the vaccine by the end of the month.
Chairman Mike Padgham said: “But we have had similar promises before and we pray the Government can deliver this time. We need a dose of realism.
“If the government can deliver the vaccine to homes by the end of January, we want to see them do it swiftly.
“If they can’t then they must be honest and tell us a realistic timescale. There is no time to lose.” So far, Mr Padgham said, access to vaccination in North Yorkshire has so far been “patchy”, he said, including for homes which are Covid-free.
He said: “I welcome the fact that care homes are still a priority, there is a way round vaccinating people in care homes and staff where there has been an outbreak.
“But cohorting and getting routes through (for vaccination teams) is not going to be easy in smaller, non purpose-built homes.”
Vic Rayner, chief executive of the National Care Forum, said: “The scale of the challenge set by government over the next month is significant.
“It will rely on huge amounts of local communication and coordination between care homes, GPs and local public health teams.
“The response to the vaccine so far has been incredible, with residents and staff embracing it when available.
“Everyone is seeing this as a way forward for this most vulnerable population and being able to mark it as ‘job done’ by the end of the month will literally be the booster that everyone across the country needs.”
Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: “Care homes have had a torrid time since the start of the pandemic and it is vital that vaccinations happen as quickly and efficiently as possible and that residents and the care staff get the protection they need.”