The Latest reports reveal wide disparities in the campaign to protect elderly residents of care homes from COVID-19. 100 per cent of residents in Slough have gotten their first vaccinations while nearly six in ten are yet to be vaccinated in one of the UK’s largest care home chains.
Struggling to Protect the Vulnerable
Care bosses have been facing an intense struggle to protect the oldest and most vulnerable members of society in what was described by the vaccines minister as a “race against deaths.”
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, informed a press conference at Downing Street that the government is “prioritizing the supply of the vaccine into those parts of the country that need to complete [vaccination of] the over-80s.”
On Monday, Care UK reported that 43% of its 6,500 residents had received a coronavirus vaccine. Barchester reported that 57% of its 12,000 residents had been vaccinated, suggesting that it would most likely take until the end of the month to cover everyone with at least one dose if the process was not accelerated.
The NHS England had earlier given GPs a deadline of 24 January “at the latest” to complete the first round of vaccinations, including staff at care homes. The target, which was always ambitious, now appears out of reach. Seventy per cent of Care UK’s staff and 57% of Barchester’s workers have yet to be vaccinated, they said.
On Monday, Hancock revealed that half of elderly care home residents across England had been vaccinated, including everyone in Slough, Berkshire.
He was, however, keen to stress that while vaccines are now offered to the over-70s as well as those on the shielding list, over-80s, care home residents, their carers and frontline health and care workers remain the “priority.” He told the press conference assembled at Downing Street that the NHS would contact seniors, who had not been vaccinated, in the next few weeks.