The NHS has now offered the Covid vaccine at every eligible care home in England, with Prime Minister hailing this as ‘a crucial milestone’.
According to NHS England, GPs and other NHS staff have offered the Covid vaccine to more than 10,000 care homes with older residents, but a ‘small remainder’ have had their visits deferred by local directors of public health for safety reasons during a local outbreak.
Those homes will be visited for jabs ‘as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so’, it added.
This comes as NHS England, last week, said GP-led vaccination teams were ‘on track’ to offer the Covid vaccine to all residents by yesterday (31 January), having previously expected all first doses to be administered by 24 January ‘at the latest’.
NHS England said GPs will also return to homes that have already been covered to vaccinate residents who were unable to get a jab during a previous visit because they recently had Covid or for other clinical reasons.
Government figures show that 598,389 people in the UK received the first dose of the covid vaccine on Saturday (30 January) – the most recorded in a single day.
Almost 9 million people have received the first dose of the vaccination across all four nations so far, while 490k have received the second dose.
The Prime Minister has also set a target for all people in the top four cohorts to have received their first Covid vaccine dose by mid-February.
NHS England primary care director Dr Nikki Kanani said: ‘I want to thank my colleagues, and everyone involved in the vaccine rollout for their extraordinary work in recent weeks, as it is because of their tireless efforts that millions of people have already been vaccinated, including hundreds of thousands of care home residents, and as a result we are a vital step further in our fight against Covid-19.’
‘It has been a privilege to vaccinate some of the most vulnerable people and the wonderful people who look after them. Many have had little contact with the outside world throughout the pandemic and so it has been truly humbling for all, giving them hope and importantly protection against the disease.’
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: ‘Today marks a crucial milestone in our ongoing race to vaccinate the most vulnerable against this deadly disease. We said we would prioritise and protect care home residents, and that is exactly what we have done.
‘There will be difficult moments to come, and the number of cases and people in hospital remains dangerously high. But vaccines are our route out of the pandemic, and having protected 8.9 million people with a first dose so far, our rollout programme will only accelerate from here on.’
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Our priority has been to protect care home residents throughout this pandemic, and I’m delighted we have reached this monumental milestone to protect the most at risk.
‘This achievement to deliver a safe, effective vaccine has only been made possible by the remarkable scientists, our dedicated care home staff and volunteers and our incredible NHS all working together. While we celebrate this success, we will never forget the loss of life and my thoughts are with all those who have lost someone close to them.’