Compared to their counterparts living in care homes, many elderly people being cared for at home may be “slipping through the cracks” by missing out on vaccines against the CCP virus, one of the UK’s largest domiciliary care providers has warned.
Home care provider Cera said on Monday that just 1 percent of its 10,000 service users, over half of whom are over 80, had thus far received a vaccine in the government’s rapid roll-out program.
In contrast, just over 50 percent of its 5,000 care workers had so far been vaccinated.
The government on Jan. 18 announced it would start vaccinating over 70s after the first priority group comprising care home residents and staff had all been offered their first dose of a jab, as well as over half of over-80s.
“We are working day and night to make sure everyone who is 70 and over, our health and social care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable are offered the vaccine by the middle of February,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a statement at the time.
‘An Urgent Issue’
Cera warned that many older people out of the nearly 1 million receiving care at home across the country may not be being vaccinated, creating “an urgent issue with reaching some of the country’s most clinically vulnerable.”
The company’s CEO, Ben Maruthappu, welcomed the progress of the vaccine rollout to care homes but at the same time raised concerns that “many vulnerable older people across the UK still risk being forgotten and neglected.”
Many of these citizens are frail, managing multiple health conditions, and are physically unable to attend vaccination appointments, and some are discouraged from having vaccines by disinformation circulating online, Cera said.
Others are fearful of attending family doctors’ surgeries or hospitals during the pandemic in case they catch the virus, Maruthappu said.
Mobile Vaccination Units
To aid in the vaccination rollout, Cera called for mobile vaccination units to be deployed in the UK as they are in European countries, the Middle East, and the United States.
Home care workers should also be trained to administer vaccines to elderly clients in their own homes
“Through this approach,” Cera said, “NHS vaccination efforts could be significantly accelerated, which in turn will help suppress the r rate and reduce transmission among the elderly—both of which are key to ending lockdown and preventing further tragedies.”
As of Monday, the country recorded 106,564 deaths from the disease within 28 days of a positive test, but the fatalities have been following a generally downward trend since Jan. 19.
At the same time, amid the country’s ongoing third national lockdown, new cases have fallen in the past month to a seven-day average of 21,604 on Jan. 28 from a peak of 52,957 on Dec. 29.
Simon Veazey contributed to this report.