GP-led vaccination teams are ‘on track’ to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to all care home residents by this Sunday, NHS England has said.
The body said it expects to offer all elderly care home residents the first dose of the vaccine by the end of January, as promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month.
It comes as two weeks ago, NHS England told all PCN vaccination services they were ‘expected to’ administer the first vaccine dose to care home residents by the 24 January at the latest.
However, since then deliveries of the Covid vaccine sent to some PCN groupings has been reduced and the Government has admitted that the speed of the vaccination effort is limited by supply issues.
And NHS England has now told Healthcare Leader‘s sister title Nursing in Practice that the 24 January target was as an ‘expectation’ and ‘not a deadline’, and a DHSC spokesperson said the date was put forward to help ensure the end-of-the-month deadline is met.
An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Just a few weeks after the Oxford vaccine – which allows teams to more easily vaccinate in care homes – became available, the majority of care home residents have already received their jab.
‘Vaccinating care home residents is a priority for local GP-led vaccinating teams, who are on track to meet the Government’s goal of doing so by the end of this month.’
Almost two-thirds (63%) of residents had received the vaccine as of the middle of last week, the latest DHSC data shows. Areas including Slough and Manchester have said all their care home residents have received a dose of the vaccine.
The DHSC spokesperson said: ‘We have been doing everything we can to protect care homes and have placed residents and staff in the highest priority group for vaccinations. By the end of the month, we aim to have offered every elderly care home resident a vaccine.’
Care home residents and staff were placed top of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list to be vaccinated. The deadline to vaccinate care home staff is mid-February. Health secretary Matt Hancock announced yesterday that 78.7% of all over-80s – who are also among the top four JCVI priority groups for a vaccine – have received a jab.
A version of this story first appeared on our sister title, Nursing in Practice.