News

First vaccinations in care homes.

Published: 14 Dec 2020 10:00

90 year old former carer receives her initial dose.

The first vaccinations in care homes in Scotland have taken place.

90 year old Annie Innes was the first care home resident in the country to receive the vaccine. Annie worked as a carer for over 14 years and has been living at the the Abercorn House Care home in Hamilton for six months.

Staff from NHS Lanarkshire administered vaccines to 52 residents as the roll-out of the vaccination programme continued. Second to receive her first dose at the care home was former bar tender 82 year old Margaret Keating who has been a resident at Abercorn House for just over a year.

Those issuing the vaccines became the first to get their initial doses on Tuesday 8 December.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“I want to thank all those involved in the roll-out of the vaccination programme. It has been a challenge to get the Pfizer vaccine into care homes because of transport and storage requirements but I am delighted to see Mrs Innes become the first care home resident to receive her vaccine and I wish her many more years of good health.

“Throughout the pandemic our priority has been to save lives and keep people safe. Vaccines give us a vital additional layer of protection we haven’t had until now.

“As more vaccines become available over the coming months we will be able to continue to extend the roll-out, but initially we are focussing on residents in care homes for older adults and their carers, as we know that older adults in care homes are at the highest risk of severe disease and death from COVID.”

“Those receiving their vaccines this week will get their second doses early in the New Year. Following advice from the MHRA we are keeping 50 per cent of the stock we have back to allow this to happen,

“Of course, we won’t rely solely on the vaccine to protect our care home residents and that’s why we are also significantly accelerating the delivery of testing kits to all care homes for designated visitors.

“But vital and welcome as the vaccine is, it really matters that all of us continue to follow all the guidance and rules including FACTS. Washing our hands regularly, wearing face coverings and keeping two metres distance from others really does make a difference in keeping us and our loved ones safe and keeping pressure off the NHS so it can care for COVID patients and others who need it’s help. We’ve a few more months to go before the vaccine work has been rolled out fully so meantime, we all need to stick together as we have done so we can get through to the lives we all want to live.”

Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire nurse director Trudi Marshall, who is managing the care home vaccination programme across the whole of Lanarkshire, said:

“This programme represents the biggest logistical challenges Lanarkshire, and the country, has ever faced.

“We’ve very rapidly scaled up our vaccinator nursing workforce and carried out detailed planning, which will enable us to vaccinate 2,990 care home residents and 5,601 staff across 93 care homes. In addition, the safe transport and storage of the vaccines has also been a very complex area of work and our staff have been excellent in meeting these challenges so diligently.

“It’s important to recognise just how much work our staff have put in to the process in such a short time. Care home staff and managers also deserve praise for their fantastic co-operation and help.

“Every day we see just how hard care home staff are working to keep residents safe. In addition, they are also liaising with our Care Home Liaison team every step of the way in planning for the roll-out of the vaccines.

“We have a detailed vaccination plan in place which we are communicating to care homes. While this is a very quick moving and complex operation, we’re dedicated to ensuring they are prepared for our visits and resident and staff have consented to receiving the vaccination.

“I’d urge all eligible care home residents and staff to take-up the vaccine to protect themselves and others. I fully understand we’re all eager to get vaccinated, however I’d call for people across Lanarkshire to please be patient as we work through priority groups.”

Resident Annie Innes said:

“It’s wonderful to get the vaccine before Christmas.

“I hope it keeps me, my friends here and the staff safe and means we can get back to normal very soon.

“The nurses and the care home staff have been great with us and we are relieved to have been offered the vaccine.”

Background

Remember FACTS for a safer Scotland:

F – Face coverings

A – Avoid crowded places

C – Clean your hands regularly

T – Two metre distance

S – Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms