Coronavirus vaccine

Coronavirus vaccine being rolled out too soon, according to care home group

  • LuxuryCare Group, who operate five care homes in Dorset, has raised concerns about the hurried rush to vaccinate people in care homes, with not enough information available on its effectiveness and reliability.

Under current plans, GP leaders will start preparations now to deliver the vaccine to their patients in December, with initial priority given to older people, health workers, and care home staff. This was announced by NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens in a recent press conference.

LuxuryCare Group, with five homes across the Bournemouth and Poole area, believes this to be ‘jumping the gun’ as not enough information is available on the vaccine. Sam Hoskins, Operations Director at LuxuryCare Group, has raised concerns on how the vaccine’s 90-95% effectiveness rate has been formulated and the speed at which it is being offered to the public.

Sam Hoskins said:

“As much as we’d like to see a vaccine rolled out across the UK, it just seems too soon to start offering it to the public. We need to see more information about its effectiveness and potential side effects – especially as one of the first groups being offered the vaccination is the elderly and vulnerable.

“The vulnerable and health workers should be the first to receive the vaccine – but only when we can guarantee it is safe to do so. Currently, we need more information and facts before offering the vaccine.”

Instead of rushing to get care home residents vaccinated, LuxuryCare believes the rapid testing approach should be a priority in the care sector as a whole – including families of residents in care homes. Access to fast tests would make it easier for relatives to visit loved ones in a care home, with results available in a much quicker time than standard tests.

Mandy Kittlety, Managing Director of LuxuryCare , said:

“Whilst we’re waiting eagerly for more information on the vaccine, we’re very excited at the possibility of rapid testing. This would enable families to be tested on-site on the day of a visit and ensure that we can facilitate more COVID-secure visits.”

Leaders at LuxuryCare have been lobbying for greater testing during the pandemic, calling for care home visitors to be offered regular testing, just as care home residents and staff are, to allow them to maintain vital contact and connection with their loved ones.

Since the start of the pandemic, LuxuryCare has put in place robust infection control, including PPE for all staff and social distancing measures, and has asked families to name just one designated visitor for each resident. Regular testing for care home staff and residents was introduced in July.