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All residents of care homes for older adults in Somerset have now been offered a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine aside from those who cannot have it for clinical reasons. 

Somerset County Council, the NHS organisations in Somerset and a small army of volunteers have worked closely together to support the largest vaccination programme in history, with vulnerable care home residents for older adults among the top priority for the first vaccinations.

Mobile vaccinators from GP primary care networks (PCN) have visited care homes to offer the vaccine to all older care home residents, aside from those who cannot have it for clinical reasons including testing positive for Covid-19 in the last four weeks.

Dr Alex Murray, Clinical Director, NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is a really important milestone. Teams of GPs, nurses and other healthcare colleagues have worked tirelessly to offer vaccinations to one of our most vulnerable groups of people in Somerset. Where we have not been able to offer a vaccination for clinical reasons, we have ensured that we have a risk assessment in place to ensure we can return to the care home as soon as it is safe to vaccinate those individuals. We will continue to work with care homes across Somerset, to offer vaccinations to these older people at a later date and to ensure that new residents have also been offered their vaccinations.”

Cllr David Huxtable, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “It has been a fantastic effort to reach so many of our most vulnerable older people in such a short amount of time. We know this virus can have a devastating impact on our care homes and this is a major step towards keeping them safe.”

David Partlow, Strategic Manager for Somerset County Council’s Adult Social Care Covid-19 Response Team, who has led the rollout to care homes in partnership with NHS teams, said: “This is a fantastic example of working together across the system, drawing on the expertise of different professionals to ensure that vaccines can be provided across the County as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

“Getting the vaccine out to care homes is really important because we know that people living in these residential care settings are much more vulnerable to the virus.”

 “Care home staff are also being offered the vaccine, and we aim to have offered it to the whole social care workforce by the mid-February deadline. Care home staff are the unsung heroes of the pandemic, and we’re passionate about getting the vaccine to them as soon as we can.

The NHS is currently offering the Covid-19 (coronavirus) vaccine to all eligible people as defined by the Joint Committee on vaccinations and immunisations.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is now running from a number of locations across Somerset to enable easier access for as many people as possible. Locations include large vaccination sites such as Taunton Racecourse and the Bath and West showground, hospital hubs, through 13 GP-led community sites and using teams of mobile vaccinators for those who cannot leave their homes.

People are asked to support the NHS:

•           Please don’t contact the NHS or visit any of our sites to ask about your vaccine,   we will contact you;

•           When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;

•           And please continue to follow all the guidance to control the spread of the virus and save lives.

For more information on the NHS vaccination in Somerset please visit: https://www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/health/local-services/health-services-during-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations-in-somerset/

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm, offering a range of support – from help accessing food or medicines, to emotional and financial support, and employment, skills and business advice.