The arrival of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination against Covid-19 is one of the biggest breakthroughs we have seen in the collective efforts to overcome the virus.
We have been working closely with local public health teams and with the GPs that support our homes to plan for the point where the vaccinations are made available to us. Our home teams have been gathering the information requested by the Department of Health and Social Care and are starting the necessary process to gain the consents for residents to have the vaccinations.
At the moment, we do not have firm dates for residents to be vaccinated. We know that the Government has decided priority will be given to care home residents so we hope that their vaccinations will arrive soon. Many of our home teams are already in conversation with their GPs and other NHS contacts so that, when the doses for care home residents arrive, everything is in place.
We know that care home colleagues are generally going to be vaccinated before residents. This will mainly involve the team members travelling to a Covid-secure clinic at their local hospital or similar site. We understand team members at a small number of our homes have been invited to book to have their jab in this way early this week.
We are very mindful that the first injection only provides a limited amount of protection against the virus. That’s why we will make sure that colleagues arrange to have the second dose in 21 – 28 days. Additionally, even those fully protected by the vaccination will continue to use PPE in line with existing guidance as further research is still needed to understand whether those covered can pass on an infection. To quote from a Public Heath England document
“Most vaccines reduce the overall risk of infection, but some vaccinated people may get mild or asymptomatic infection and therefore be able to pass the virus on.”
We will also continue to carry out our strict hygiene and sanitation procedures in every home to keep people safe and maintain the testing regimes that have become standard practice over the past few weeks.
Having our team members protected by the vaccination is a tremendous step forward in reducing the risk of an infection coming into the home. It will also help to reduce the burden on the teams with fewer colleagues taking time off sick or self-isolating.
We would like to thank residents and their family and friends and our teams for their incredible support and good will as we continue to do everything we can to keep residents safe, happy and leading busy, fulfilled lives.
And finally, a note to journalists. To minimise the risk of infection, we are very sorry but we will not able to host any filming of vaccinations being given in our homes.