Care home residents are like 'sitting ducks' as managers say they're being 'left in the dark'
Care homes in the South have told ITV Meridian they are being kept in the dark over the vaccine process, despite the Government stating residents will be a 'top priority'.
Last month, the Prime Minister outlined the pecking order for the vaccine providing lots of homes with hope.
However, three care home managers in Sussex who have criticised the lack of clarity for when the vaccine will arrive in the arms of the people they look after.
Arlington House in Hove has 24 residents who manager Dave Steedman says are now like ‘sitting ducks’.
“We feel hugely let down, we feel enormously responsible for our residents here and they are part of an extended family for us and it’s heartbreaking, just heartbreaking.”
Chillie Sibelo is clinical lead at the home,
"[Residents] are seeing it on the news that people are being vaccinated and they don’t understand why they haven’t been vaccinated. It’s a huge expectation from everybody, the families that have been told vaccinations will be rolled out into care home, they are ‘top priority; but we don’t feel like top priority because that hasn’t happened."
The first approved jab, the Pfizer one, is tricky to administer as it needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius so logistically it's tricky.
The Oxford jab, which began being used this week, doesn't.
The Government has committed to 13 million people in the top four groups being offered the vaccine by mid-February.
'Being left in the dark is unacceptable'
Kim Hunt had to close one of her two Seaford homes following the deaths of so many residents to Covid-19 last year.
Kim is part of the Registered Care Association which is made up of homes that look after over 2,000 residents in East Sussex. Not one of them has been vaccinated.
“Being left in the dark is just not acceptable. Most care homes feel like they’ve done this journey on their own anyway. To be at the last hurdle trying to keep people safe, so close to a vaccine, not to be informed, it’s just making it worse.”With Covid-19 cases continuing to rise, the staff at Lawrence Marsh's home in Chichester have moved in.
He admits the wait for news about the vaccine isn't easy.
“I’m a little bit frustrated when nursing homes are three, four miles away from us have been vaccinated prior to Christmas. I’m thinking is there anything else we can do? What have we done wrong?”
Lawrence cannot wait for the jab to be given to his residents, with relatives looking forward to moment they can hug their loved ones.
NHS drive to boost figures
An NHS spokesperson said: "Following approval of the first vaccine a few weeks ago, the NHS has vaccinated hundreds of thousands of older and vulnerable people across the country, including in care homes.
“The NHS will give GPs an extra £10 for every care home resident they vaccinate against Covid by the end of January in a renewed drive to protect the most vulnerable."The Government says the journey of this vaccine rollout will accelerate next week, some care homes are already feeling left behind.