After initial fears that care homes would not be able to receive the first batch of vaccines due to logistical concerns, 90 year old Annie Innes, a former carer herself, became the first care home resident to receive the new Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine this week.
She said, "I hope it (the vaccine) keeps me, my friends here and the staff safe and means we can get back to normal very soon". Sentiments and hope shared by many around the country.
How long will it take to vaccinate those eligible? When might I get my vaccine or when might my elderly or vulnerable relative get theirs? These are all key questions and, at the moment, unfortunately no one can really answer these definitively.
However, vaccination priorities have been set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), with each of the four Nations following this advice. Each individual NHS Board will then be responsible for the delivery of their own vaccination plans and how these will operate in each individual area. The Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman has advised that the delivery programme remains dependent on the supply of doses but we can all be assured that everyone will be working hard to progress things as quickly and as safely as possible.
Like other vaccines, it is not anticipated that the Covid-19 vaccine will be mandatory. This means that health care professionals will therefore need to provide the appropriate information to care home residents to allow them to make an informed decision before the vaccine is administered. If the care home resident doesn't have the necessary capacity to make this decision then we understand that the care home staff and/or GP or other health care professionals are likely to be in touch with those who act under a Welfare Power of Attorney to support with the consent process. For more information on Powers of Attorney please click here.
Whilst we are still some way away from the "normality" that Annie and so many of us crave in terms of not only visiting relatives in care homes but also in day to day life more generally, the rollout of the vaccine programme this week is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
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