In a major milestone for the NHS vaccination programme, nurses, GPs and other NHS staff have offered the life-saving jab to people living at more than 330 care homes with older residents.
A small remainder have had their visits deferred by local directors of public health for safety reasons during a local outbreak. These homes will be visited and vaccinated as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so.
Any care home yet to be visited for a vaccination clinic is going to have one booked in as soon as it is deemed safe by local public health protection clinicians to do so. Vaccination staff are also returning to homes that have been covered to vaccinate any resident who was unable to have it during the previous visit because they had recently had Covid-19 or for other clinical reasons.
The vaccination programme, which is the biggest in NHS history, has got off to a strong start with more than eight million doses administered.
Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Our progress to date has been incredible. I would like to thank all staff involved in the vaccine rollout across the Black Country and West Birmingham.
"Their extraordinary work and tireless efforts so far has meant thousands of people, including care home residents and their staff have already been vaccinated, and as a result we are a vital step further in our fight against Covid-19.
“The delivery of the vaccine to care homes for our older and most vulnerable people who have had little contact with the outside world throughout the pandemic is a wonderful achievement.
“I would urge anyone who is offered the vaccine to say yes and book their appointment as soon as possible.”
Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “This is brilliant news which I am sure will be warmly welcomed by care home residents and their families – and on their behalf I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the roll out of the vaccine in Wolverhampton.
“We hope that protecting our most vulnerable residents in this way will, in due course, enable visiting to begin again in our city’s care homes.
“In the meantime, I would encourage all care home workers, and indeed everyone working in the health and social care sector, to ensure they get their Covid-19 vaccination, to not only protect themselves from this deadly virus but also to enable them to continue their vital work at this time.
"In the meantime it’s incredibly important that people continue to do everything they can to stop the spread of the virus. This means continuing to follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance and adhering to the new lockdown restrictions which are now in place."
The Joint Committee of Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI), who set the priority groups for vaccination, made older adult care home residents and their staff high priority groups due to being at particular risk from Covid-19 because of their age and frailty.
Vaccinations continue to be administered at one of 25 GP led vaccination services, vaccination centres and a number of local pharmacies in the region.
People who are eligible will be contacted by their GP or will receive a letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book their appointment. Please do not try to book or go to any vaccination services before you receive a booking letter or a phone call.
Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, which include a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, must immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting GOV.UK or calling 119.