Vaccinations are being offered to care home residents across the Island from today (Monday 18 January) as the rollout programme takes a significant step forward.
First to receive the vaccination at the Southlands home in Port Erin was 84-year old Sally Murray, one of 33 residents and six staff having their jab today.
Sally, who has lived at Southlands since 2018, also became the first person in the Island to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being used in this latest stage of the rollout.
On having the vaccination Sally said:
‘Is that it? Everyone who can should have the vaccine. This will help not only me but everyone else and I feel very lucky to be getting the first one.’
A multi-disciplinary team of vaccinators is visiting residential homes in the Island this week, those run by the Department of Health and Social Care and the private sector. By the end of the week, around 200 care home residents – a key priority group for vaccination – will have gained protection from serious illness caused by Covid-19.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is being given to health and care staff and the over 80s at a vaccination hub in ward 20 on the Noble’s Hospital site. The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept in deep freeze and requires careful handling, transportation and reconstitution before it is put into arms. These protocols mean that a ’come to’ hub is ideal for delivering the Pfizer vaccine, whereas the less complex process involved in administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine makes it more suitable for ‘taking to’ vulnerable groups and others in the community.
Care home residents, health and care staff and those aged over 80 are the top priority groups for vaccination, as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, JCVI. Residents of Island nursing homes who wish to be vaccinated will be visited from next week (w/c 25 January) in a similar rollout.
A separate consent process is in place for residents of care homes who lack capacity to make the decision for themselves, and families are being invited to give their views on whether they wish their loved one to be vaccinated. The DHSC team will return to vaccinate this cohort, where vaccination has been formally agreed, at the earliest opportunity.
In the coming weeks, two new vaccination hubs will open, one in Douglas at the former Shoprite store in Chester Street and the other at a purpose-built hub at the airport. These are designed to provide a convenient facility for the public and vaccinators as supplies arrive on the Island for all priority groups and the wider population in turn.