Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted the pace of the care home vaccination programme needs to be stepped up in order to meet the government’s target of immunising all residents by 31 January.
Speaking during PM’s Questions in the House of Commons yesterday, the PM said just one in ten care home residents and 14% of staff have had their first COVID jabs.
Mr Johnson said: “So far, I believe that 10% of care home residents and 14% of care home staff have received the vaccine – but that clearly needs to be stepped up.”
Number 10 has blamed the slow progress on the vaccinations on the fact that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine needs to be frozen and has been difficult to distribute to care homes.
It is hoped that approval of the second Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is easier to transport, will accelerate the programme.
GPs, meanwhile, have been offered an additional £10 for every care home resident they vaccinate.
Mike Padgham, chair of the Independent Care Group, told the Daily Mail that it was heartening that care homes were being given priority for vaccines, adding: “But we have had similar promises before and we pray the Government can deliver this time. We need a dose of realism.
“If the Government can deliver the vaccine to homes by the end of January, we want to see them do it swiftly.
“If they can’t then they must be honest and tell us a realistic timescale. There is no time to lose.”