"The light at the end of the tunnel'' says Northumberland care home manager as staff and residents get COVID jab

Video report by Helen Ford

"The light at the end of the tunnel'' - that's how one Northumberland residential home manager described the vaccination of her residents and staff.

It is one step closer to the resumption of normal life for those at Wellburn House residential home in Ovingham.

Linda was among the first to be vaccinated at the care home. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

It means residents like Linda can mix again with family and friends. She was one of 28 people living at the Tyne Valley home to receive their first COVID vaccine.

I am very pleased to have it because I think it's the only way we are going to get through this virus, if we don't have all these injections. It's a relief to have it done. I've been waiting for it to be done

Linda, resident

The home has been COVID free throughout the pandemic. But these have been testing times for staff, residents and their families.

To know that residents are going to, hopefully in the near future, to be able to see their loved ones, be able to have that human contact, be able to have that cuddle that myself and my team have been able to try and be the conduit and help them with that but it doesn't match up to having that human touch off one of your loved ones.

Rachel Maughan, Residential home manager
Wellburn care home has been using pods to allow residents to see their families.

Sheila Bradley has been meeting her father William in an outdoor pod - where they are separated by a sheet of perspex. She described it as a 'huge day':

I've missed seeing my father so much and because the staff here have been under so much pressure and have worked so hard to keep him safe. But also it's the start back to some kind of normality which is very important, particularly for older people such as my father.

Sheila Bradley, daughter of resident

Some members of staff here also received COVID jabs today - finally offering a sense of hope in difficult times. 

Every elderly care home resident will be offered a coronavirus jab by the end of this month, Boris Johnson said.

Almost 1.5 million people have been vaccinated in the UK, the prime minister said on Thursday, adding that the government is aiming to ramp up capabilities to ensure a vaccine is available to people within 10 miles of their home.

Johnson added that the UK has already protected more people from COVID with vaccinations than all the other countries in Europe put together.

He said that thanks to the arrival of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which can be stored at room temperature, the government are able to "accelerate the pace of vaccination in care homes".

He added: “We’re using that vaccine in care homes for the first time today and by the end of the month we hope to have offered every elderly care home resident a vaccine.