NHS: Covid jab offered at every eligible care home in England
The NHS has offered a first dose of Covid vaccine to residents at every eligible care home with older residents in England.
Official data published on 1 February is expected to confirm NHS England has offered a jab to people living at more than 10,000 care homes with older residents.
The small remainder have had their visits deferred by local directors of public health for safety reasons during a local outbreak, NHS England said.
Those homes will be visited and jabbed as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so, it added.
Any care home yet to be visited for vaccinations due to an outbreak will be booked in as soon as it is deemed safe by local public health protection clinicians to do so.
Vaccination staff are also returning to homes that have been covered to jab any resident who was unable to have it during the previous visit because they had recently had Covid or for other clinical reasons.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS announcement marked a “crucial milestone” in the government’s race to vaccinate the most vulnerable.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
Care England chief executive Martin Green 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.
“We now look forward to working in partnership to deliver the government’s ambitious programme for administration of the second dose and rolling the programme out to people with learning disabilities living in care homes and supported living settings.”
NHS England offered GPs up to £30 extra to vaccinate care home residents in January to cover the increased time and logistics required in bringing the vaccine to care homes.
The government however has admitted that its ambition to offer the vaccine to all care home staff in English care homes by the end of January has been missed.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, care minister Helen Whately said staff had been offered vaccines alongside residents but acknowledged: “We know that we are still working through the care home staff.”
The Scottish government meanwhile said it is on course to finish the first stage of its vaccine rollout, including care homes, by 5 February.
In Wales, around 75 per cent of care home residents have received their first jab, while in Northern Ireland 100 per cent of care homes have received a first dose.