Care home residents in England are to be given a daily dose of vitamin D to boost their bone and muscle health.
Four-month supplies are to be provided later this month to support individuals’ health and help reduce the risk of falls.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “This year, the government will provide all nursing and residential care homes in England with a free four-month supply of vitamin D supplements as it is likely that care home residents will have stayed indoors more than usual over spring and summer last year as a result of the national restrictions for COVID-19.”
Some analysis has suggested that vitamin D could also help protect against coronavirus but this is yet to be proved conclusively.
Dr Richard Quinton, a consultant endocrinologist at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, told The Guardian: “Our view was that this treatment is so safe and the crisis is so enormous that we don’t have time to debate.”
Residents will be given the choice as to whether they wish to take the vitamin D doses, which will be given in liquid form. All cases where the nutrient is taken will be recorded in a similar way to other medication.