All care home residents set to get Covid vaccine by end of January
- Credit: Denise Bradley
Care homes have been reassured all their residents will be vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of the month.
Although supplies of the Pfizer vaccine were originally limited, more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are being distributed across the region throughout this week as operations "massively step up".
Lisa Nobes, director of nursing and clinical quality for Suffolk and north east Essex clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), has confirmed that - as long as they get enough vaccines - they will have given all care home residents the jab by the end of January.
She said: "Some other regions are using a roving model where they send a car out to the care homes to do vaccinations.
"However, we have gone with using primary care staff who already have a good relationship with the care homes from doing the seasonal flu jabs.
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"They work with the primary care network (PCN) sites, 14 of which are going live this week, and they go out to the homes where they know the residents and we believe it is a lot safer.
"This may have looked to some like Suffolk was moving slower than other areas, but it is like a slow burn as the PCN sites take a while to be set up, but once they are we will reach our target at the same time as everyone else."
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Prema Fairburn-Dorai, chairwoman of the Suffolk Association of Independent Care Providers, had voiced concerns that although residents and staff had been named a priority, there had not been enough action on the ground.
She said: "The care homes have been told they are a priority one, but the truth is we are not getting anywhere near near the doses we need. It is very slow.
"Our staff are upset and can you blame them? They now at the end of their tether, I don't know how much more they can take.
"The health service had a short reprieve over the summer when infections dropped, but care homes have never been free from the virus."
Mrs Fairburn-Dorai claims the availability for care home staff to get vaccinations has been slow.
However, the NHS has reassured them that with more hospital hubs going live in Ipswich and West Suffolk, there will be more opportunities over coming weeks.