The new Coronavirus vaccine will be ‘ready to go’ in care homes within the next 2-weeks, says the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
Having approved the way doses are distributed to care homes across the UK, it still means care home residents and staff might not be the first to receive the vaccination.
A harsh winter
Despite the vaccine being welcomed with open arms by so many, the UK’s chief medical officers have said the vaccine will only have a small impact on the number of hospital admissions this winter.
In a letter to colleagues, the chief medical officers have outlined how this winter could be especially difficult to manage for the health service due to the sudden drop in temperatures and Coronavirus.
“Although the very welcome news about vaccines means that we can look forward to 2021 with greater optimism, vaccine deployment will have only a marginal impact in reducing numbers coming into the health service with Covid over the next three months,” they said.
Many are still concerned about the risk of infections rising following the Government’s ‘COVID holiday’ between December 23 and 28. The experts warn, hospitals and GPs will need to be ready for the New Year rush of infections.
Strict guidelines to administer the vaccine
As vaccinations are set to begin this week at 50-hospital hubs in England, NHS England also say GP-run vaccination points will be up and running from December 14.
There have been talks that GPs will need to be available between 8am and 8pm, with extra precautions surrounding social distancing and PPE. GPs have already been informed of who their most high risk patients are.
The MHRA has detailed the vaccine doses should be repacked for shipping to care home in refrigerated cold rooms, between 2 and 8c. They must then be transferred into carriers, which maintain the same temperature.
Worries come as an operation this large has never been done before. As soon as the vials have been thawed, assemblers will have just 12-hours to pack, label and transport them to care homes.
Who will receive the vaccine first?
The most vulnerable and at risk will receive their vaccinations first. This includes:
- Residents in care homes and care teams
- Those aged 80 and over
- Front-line health and social care workers
- Those aged 75 and over
- Those aged 70 and over, or who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- Those aged 65 and over
- Those aged between 16 and 64, with underlying health conditions
The first consignment of the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine arrived in the UK last week. The Government has ordered 40-million doses in total – enough to vaccinate 20-million people.
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