COVID-19 vaccinations will be ready for distribution to care homes within the next two weeks, the regulator has said.
Dr June Raine, CEO of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told BBC Radio Cumbria that the vaccines would “definitely” be shipped to care homes within a fortnight.
Elderly care home residents and workers are at the top of the priority list for the vaccine.
However, as a result of the need for the Pfizer approved vaccine to be stored at low temperatures distribution to care homes has been delayed with the first vaccinations taking place at 50 hospital hubs in England tomorrow.
NHS and care staff will be among the first batch of people to receive the vaccines with preparations under way to pack and ship doses to care homes.
There were 467 COVID related deaths in care homes in the latest weekly data published by the ONS.
On a year-to-date basis, the ONS has reported 17,319 care home deaths in England and Wales up to 20 November.
In a letter to care homes on Friday, Minister for Care, Helen Whately, said: “We are working with the NHS on how we may be able to vaccinate care home residents with the Pfizer-bioNTech vaccine at their care home but, given the practical challenges, we cannot set out the details for this yet.
“We are keeping the operational plans under constant review and, if further vaccines are licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), we will examine the use of these for care home residents.”