'Herculean effort' to be made to vaccinate all care home residents

One patient having a vaccination administered at the Two Rivers Medical Centre in Ipswich in mid December

Health bosses are aiming to vaccinate all care home residents and staff by January 24 - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Health chiefs are to launch a "Herculean effort" to roll out the coronavirus vaccine to all care home residents and staff in Suffolk and north east Essex by January 24.

Lisa Nobes, director of nursing and clinical quality for the Suffolk and north east Essex clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said every effort would be made to protect the "most vulnerable and at risk in our population".

She said the CCGs are "very confident" of meeting the target, as long as supplies of the vaccine are delivered on time.

Data released by Public Health England last week revealed that 286 care home residents in Suffolk had died with Covid-19 between April 10 last year and January 8.

Director of Nursing Lisa Nobes. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Lisa Nobes, director of nursing and clinical quality for the Suffolk and north east Essex clinical commissioning groups - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Essex reported 415 virus-related deaths in care homes in the same timeframe.

Ms Nobes said health bosses were racing to vaccinate the elderly partly due to the emergence of the mutated strain of Covid-19, which spreads "like wildfire" in care homes.


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She also said preparations are in place to distribute doses across the county when they arrive next week and the CCGs are expecting to meet their vaccination target, barring any late hiccups.

Care home residents will receive one of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine at their provider, while healthcare workers will be invited for a jab at one of the many recently-opened vaccination centres in the region.

Ms Nobes confirmed residents at 113 homes in Suffolk and north east Essex will be vaccinated by Sunday, with plans to visit 164 more in the coming days.

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She said: "It is the most important thing we are doing at the moment. People living in care homes are the most vulnerable and at risk in our population.

"Society is judged by how you treat your most vulnerable. That's why we've got this massive effort to vaccinate next week.

"The new variant of the virus spreads like wildfire once it gets into a home.

"We have launched a significant number of primary care networks, and most of these are opening this week.

"It will be a Herculean effort.

"We're very confident we will hit the target. The challenges will be receiving the vaccine - we've got the workforce and the cars to do it."

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