A members’ survey by the National Care Forum (NCF) has found that around 95% of care homes have whole home vaccination testing but warned more work needs to be done on vaccinating staff.
The survey of 750 homes in England during 25-26 January came as the government approaches its end of January deadline for ensuring all elderly care home residents and staff are offered vaccinations.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director at the NCF, said: “The incredible drive by community health colleagues and care homes working together in partnership has resulted in nearly 100% of all homes within this survey being visited by a roving vaccination team. This is a brilliant achievement.
“However, the prioritisation of staff vaccination does not appear to have been followed through with the same level of effectiveness. Whilst it is encouraging that the vast majority of organisations who responded noted that 50% or more of staff have been vaccinated, only 27% reported vaccination of over 70% of their staff.”
Recent reports have suggested that up to one in five care home staff at some organisations could be declining jabs while Vic highlighted that some staff were still having difficulty accessing or receiving vaccinations.
As well as removing barriers to staff vaccinations, Vic said the sector needed to ensure that staff with concerns had their questions answered.
Noting that the NHS England incentive for GPs to vaccinate all residents and staff by 24 January had been missed, Vic said the clock was now ticking on meeting the government’s deadline of vaccinating all vulnerable groups by 15 February.
“The experience of care home staff to date would suggest there is much work to be done to make this a reality, particularly when going forward, almost all vaccinations will take place in the community and care home staff who should be vaccinated first, run the very real risk of being lost in the rush,” Vic noted.