Rolling out the COVID vaccine to care workers and care home residents (updated 7 Jan 2021)

Published: Friday 4th December 2020

When and how care workers and residents at care homes will get the COVID vaccine is a high-profile topic of conversation.

Last month we described news of a COVID vaccine for care home residents and the thousands of our care workers who support vulnerable people across the country as offering some ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

However, there is so much conflicting information on COVID vaccines appearing in national and local media, plus in our social media news feeds. It’s easy to feel confused and wonder what the real story is.

The actual position right now

COVID vaccinations started in December 2020 and some of our care home teams became the first in Dorset to receive the vaccine. Whilst the roll out is still a bit hit and miss, more and more home care and care home teams are being offered vaccinations each day:

We are excited and pleased at the positive response from care teams so far as vaccination will not only help keep you safe but may also protect those you care for.

We get very little notice as to which locations will be next to be vaccinated, but you can rest assured that we will let you know as soon as we do. We will also provide regular updates to all care teams via email, our news pages and social channels. We receive all central government guidance as soon as it is issued and also receive daily updates from councils, informing us of the situation and arrangements at a more local level.

The two approved COVID vaccines

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) on 2 December, was the first vaccine to be rolled out across the UK. The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at extremely low temperatures. This makes the distribution and administration of the vaccine more complicated, resulting in some delays with the roll out into care homes and other settings.

Another vaccine by Oxford-AstraZeneca was approved on 30 December. It is much easier to distribute, which we hope will result in it being rolled out more quickly to all care settings.

COVID vaccine prioritisation

Clearly it will take some time to vaccinate everyone. Prioritisation is primarily based on age and risk as follows:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • All those 75 years of age and over
  • All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals [footnote 1]
  • All those 65 years of age and over
  • All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • All those 60 years of age and over
  • All those 55 years of age and over
  • All those 50 years of age and over