North Yorkshire care homes remain in the dark over access to vaccine, warns Independent Care Group chairman

The chairman of an Independent Care group in Yorkshire says he is unable to say when his residents in some of his North Yorkshire care homes will start being vaccinated, as they are yet to receive any official guidance.

By Ruth Dacey
Friday, 1st January 2021, 4:45 pm

While GPs began administering Pfizer/BioNTech vaccinations in care homes all over the country at the end of December, there are still questions about exactly when and how some care home residents and staff will receive the vaccine.

Initially, it was feared that it may be too difficult to get the jab into care homes, as it has to be kept at very low temperatures and is unstable if moved too frequently.

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Pictured: Dr James Coppack is seen giving Rosemary Marsh (a resident from Alba Rose Care Home, in Pickering) her injection, watched by Shannon Reed from the care home and Cheryl Secker from Pickering Medical Practice. Photo credit: Saint Cecilia’s Care Group.

Hoping to receive some news soon is Mike Pagham, the chairman for the Independent Care group for York and North Yorkshire.

Mr Padgham, who is also the managing director of the Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's, which operates four care homes across North Yorkshire, where 4 residents have died due to COVID-19.

So far only residents at the Alba Rose Care Home, in Pickering, have received the first doss of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine.

Eight residents, alongside 36 staff, received their vaccinations two weeks ago when they went by minibus to Pickering Medical Practice, while eight of the less agile residents, who were not able to get to the surgery, had theirs administered yesterday (31 Decemember) in the care home by a team, led by Dr James Coppack, from the surgery.

Mike Padgham, the chairman for the Independent Care group for York and North Yorkshire.

However Mr Pagham said he was "in the dark," as to when more than 100 staff and 88 residents from the three Scarborough based homes would receive the first dose of the vaccine and added a "number" of care homes in North Yorkshire had voiced similar concerns.

He said: "We hope things get rolled out to Scarborough soon - but we are still a little bit in the dark really.

"There are a number of homes in North Yorkshire that are still waiting for the vaccine for staff and residents.

"I’ve had members ringing me and asking me do we know when this is going to happen? The answer is no."

The Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's, which operates four care homes across North Yorkshire, where 4 residents have died due to COVID-19. Photo credit: other

Older adults living in care homes - and staff - have long been at the top of the government's priority list for the vaccine, although logistical hurdles delayed the start of the roll-out for people aged over 80 began in hospitals and GP surgeries.

But Mr Padgham said he was concerned there was the risk that smaller care (those with less than 55 residents) may be "forgotten".

"Our query is don’t forget the small ones - they need help as well. I have to make sure small homes don’t get forgotten - that is the key thing."

Mr Padgham added: "The Government are quite good at giving deadlines and then failing to meet them. I think it’s better if they were more open and honest and say actually this is going to take us some time - then we don’t get so worried when we don’t hit the deadlines.

Pictured, from left to right. Team leader Corina Grigoruta, and resident Angela Morgan, at the Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's in July this year. Submitted picture: Saint Celecilia's Nursing Home.

"It’s great that the vaccine is 'coming' - it’s light at the end of the tunnel. The challenge now is to get it out to everybody as soon as possible - the key thing in between is not to relax up because we have got a way to go yet.

"Although the vaccine is light at the end of the tunnel it is not over yet... Maybe by the Spring we will be there - but don’t get too over-excited."

The Scarborough and Ryedale CCG were contacted by The Yorkshire Post for response.

NHS England confirmed the NHS is to provide GPs with an extra £10 for every care home resident they are able to vaccinate against Covid by the end of January in an accelerated drive to protect the most vulnerable.

More than three quarters of a million people were vaccinated in under three weeks from the start of the programme, new figures showed yesterday, (December 31).

A total of 786,000 people received a Covid jab between the NHS delivering the world’s first vaccination outside of a clinical trial between December 8 until December 27.

Around two thirds, some 524,439, were delivered to people aged 80 and over who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, meaning that around one in five people of that age are already protected.

The number of vaccination sites are coming on line all the time with more than 700, a mixture of GP-run centres and hospital hubs, now delivering jabs across the country.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: "Three quarters of a million people have now received the Pfizer vaccine thanks to the tireless efforts of NHS staff who have given up time with their families over Christmas to deliver vaccines at the same times as treating record numbers of seriously-ill patients with COVID-19."

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