Hope for the elderly as NHS staff aim to give care home residents Covid-19 jab by SUNDAY… but bosses admit it could take a week longer
- Majority of care home residents will be vaccinated by Sunday under NHS target
- Scientists say one life is saved for roughly every 25 people given the jab
- Outbreaks of Covid have risen sharply in homes, which are struggling to cope
Most care home residents will be vaccinated by Sunday under an ambitious NHS target set amid fears the rollout is taking too long.
NHS England has announced that residents are expected to be vaccinated by the end of this week, or by January 24 ‘at the latest’.
Scientists said yesterday that one life is saved for roughly every 25 residents vaccinated.
But managers at some homes have not yet been contacted to arrange vaccinations for their vulnerable residents and staff, despite Government promises that they were its top priority.
Most care home residents will be vaccinated by Sunday, like Diana Roberts who received her vaccine yesterday
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told MPs: ‘The estimates are that we have to vaccinate only about 250 people aged over 80 to save one life.
‘We only need to vaccinate somewhere between 25 to 45 care home residents to save one life.’
Manager opens his door to corona patients
Carer Alison Crank from Saint Celia’s care home, which has set up a Covid ward
A care home is accepting Covid patients from a hospital which is struggling to cope with virus cases.
Saint Cecilia’s has taken in nine coronavirus patients.
Managing director Mike Padgham said: ‘The NHS needs help with capacity and we are part of the health and social care community so we wanted to play our part.
‘If we don’t help these people who are on the mend, then people who are ill won’t get treatment in the hospitals because there is no space. It feels like a wartime situation and we all have to help out and pull together.’ The patients, who are still suffering from Covid symptoms, are recovering at the home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. They are looked after by an independent team of carers on a separate floor.
The unit, which has space for 15 people, is self-contained, staff wear personal protective equipment at all times and deep cleans are carried out several times a day. But there is still a worry that the virus could spread to the rest of the home with potentially fatal consequences.
Dr Ed Smith, medical director at Scarborough Hospital, said: ‘It is literally lifesaving to be able to discharge patients rapidly and effectively.’
The National Care Association (NCA) said some homes had still not received any information about when they could expect the vaccine.
The NHS has also asked homes to start accepting Covid patients from hospitals, prompting fears of a return to the crisis in care homes seen in the first wave of the virus last year.
Outbreaks of coronavirus have risen sharply in homes, which are struggling to cope with staff shortages. Death rates have also risen.
The NCA, which represents independent care providers, said its members were ‘extremely anxious’ about delays in vaccinations.
Spokesman Nadra Ahmed said she received five or six ‘heartbreaking’ emails a day from homes that had yet to be contacted.
She said she was surprised by how many providers had reported they had not received the jabs and told the BBC she believed the rollout in care homes was ‘quite a bit behind’.
NHS England has told GPs that it expects all care home residents and staff to be vaccinated by January 24, with most receiving the jab by the end of this week.
Operators and residents’ families have expressed fears over homes being asked to take Covid patients from hospitals.
There were more than 19,000 coronavirus-related deaths of care home residents between March and June, and the outbreaks were blamed on hospitals discharging patients into homes without routine virus testing.Mo
The NHS has now asked some homes to accept Covid-positive patients directly from hospitals, provided they have been in isolation for 14 days and have shown no new symptoms, according to the Guardian newspaper. Patients had previously been sent only to care homes where it was judged that infection spread could be limited.
Care provider groups said many members had decided not to take part in the scheme because of safety fears or issues with insurance. Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said homes must take their own decisions and that hospitals should not put them under ‘undue pressure’.
The NHS is considering a ‘back-up plan’ to move some non-Covid patients into hotels to ease pressure on hospitals, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed yesterday.
He said it would be done only if appropriate for the patient to free up beds. London Hotel Group, which owns the Best Western chain, has already taken Covid patients from King’s College Hospital. It said it is in talks with 20 trusts and could provide 5,000 beds.