NHS England has called on GPs to ensure residents and staff in elderly care homes receive their first vaccine dose by the end of this week, or by 24 January at the latest.
In a letter shared by Pulse magazine, NHS England also raised the cash incentive for GPs to vaccinate each care home resident from £10 to £30 until 17 January.
The letter states: “We are therefore expecting all PCN local vaccination services to administer the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to care home residents and staff in the older adult care homes for which the PCN is responsible by the end of this week wherever possible and, at the latest, by the end of next week (Sunday 24 January).”
The letter adds: “We can now announce that to ensure the fastest possible coverage of care homes, first doses delivered in a care home setting from 14 December 2020 to close Sunday 17 January will now carry an enhanced additional payment of £30 instead, and doses delivered in the week beginning 18 January a payment of £20.”
While confirming that GPs should still visit care homes where there has been an outbreak, the letter said vaccinations should remain the priority.
NHS England is asking GPs to work extended hours to meet the targets.
Speaking on Monday, Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said just under a quarter of care home residents had received their first vaccine dose.