Care Minister Helen Whately has praised the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine at an Outstanding West Midlands care home.
Ms Whately met staff and residents during a virtual tour of Royal Star & Garter’s Solihull care home, which is rated Outstanding in all five areas.
Ms Whately said afterwards: “We have now offered the COVID-19 vaccine to residents and staff at every eligible care home for older people in England – that’s over 10,000 care homes across England. This is a fantastic achievement and I pay tribute to all our health and social care staff and providers who work so hard every single day and have been essential in the roll out of our life saving vaccines.
“I know that staff at Royal Star & Garter care homes have gone the extra mile throughout the pandemic and now supporting the vaccine roll out. That was abundantly clear when I dropped in for a virtual visit, and spoke to some of those residents and staff myself. I want to thank them for their incredible dedication and hard work. The vaccination programme is continuing at pace to offer the first dose to all in the top four priority groups – including health and social care staff – by mid-February.”
Ms Whately discussed the successful COVID vaccine roll-out at the home, which has seen every current resident vaccinated, and 89% of staff – a figure expected to rise further.
Home Manager Cheryl Harbourne told the minister about lock-ins at the home where staff moved in for two- and one-week periods, respectively, to help keep residents safe and how they had coped when a few residents did test positive with the virus.
Cheryl said: “We’ve put in a lot of effort explaining to staff the importance of the vaccine. There were some that needed more support, but we were able to provide them with lots of information and leaflets to put their mind at ease, and our GP wrote to staff as well. I’m expecting the 89% staff vaccination figure to rise because I know there are some who have now decided to have it. It’s so important to me as Home Manager. It means that we all feel a bit safer and have hope for the future.”
Chief Executive Andy Cole added: “I’m delighted that such a high percentage of our staff team have had the vaccine. We’ve worked hard to reassure and support those who were initially unsure, and we were pleased to share this success story with the Minister for Care.”