Newcastle becomes first city to vaccinate all care home residents

India McTaggart
·6-min read
Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle - Owen Humphreys/ PA
Members of the public arrive to receive their injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS vaccine centre at the Centre for Life in Times Square, Newcastle - Owen Humphreys/ PA

Every eligible Newcastle care home resident has been vaccinated against coronavirus in what experts are hailing as "the start of a long road back to normality".

The doctor leading the project has confirmed that all care homes in Newcastle, comprising almost 2,000 residents in over 50 homes, and most of the staff looking after them have been given the jab.

The programme saw seven teams made up of a doctor, nurse and administrator delivering the vaccination to each home around the city, completing the job in less than a fortnight.

Newcastle is believed to be the first city in England to reach the milestone with its rapid vaccine rollout.

Teamwork, planning and communication were the keys in getting the doses out to over 50 homes in the city in such a short time frame.

Chief operating officer from Newcastle GP Services, Rebecca Haynes, described the two-week rollout as "incredibly challenging but an absolute privilege."

She added: "Care homes, their staff and their residents have been impacted deeply by the pandemic, they have all made great sacrifices and being able to provide them with the protection and a glimmer of hope has been incredibly rewarding."

Despite the city’s vaccination success, Mrs Haynes warned: "We are not out of the woods yet and I would urge people to follow the guidance in full, stay at home unless essential and help stop the spread of the virus."

Nick Forbes, the leader of Newcastle City Council, said: "In less than two weeks we have protected the most vulnerable people in our communities, providing the residents and their families with a sense of reassurance and hope they have longed for.

"It is also a relief for care home staff who have given so much during this pandemic, prioritising the health and care of the residents they work with."

"This is the start of the long road back to normality for our city, a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel."

GP Dr Jane Carman said none of the residents refused to have the jab.

She told the BBC's Today programme: "Everybody was delighted to have it."

Care home workers still waiting for their vaccination are being offered slots at the Centre For Life mass vaccination hub.

UK vaccination sites, in pictures

Cubicles erected inside Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, for people to receive an injection of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine -  Steve Parsons/PA
Cubicles erected inside Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, for people to receive an injection of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine - Steve Parsons/PA
Mary Heaword, 99, gives the thumbs up after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination at the Olympic Office Centre, Wembley, north London - Yui Mok/PA
Mary Heaword, 99, gives the thumbs up after receiving the Covid-19 vaccination at the Olympic Office Centre, Wembley, north London - Yui Mok/PA
Members of the public queue outside Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, to receive an injection of the Oxford vaccine - Jacob King/ PA
Members of the public queue outside Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, to receive an injection of the Oxford vaccine - Jacob King/ PA

UK vaccine rollout sees significant step up

The NHS is on course to reach 1.5 million doses by the end of this week as over four million Britons have had their first dose of coronavirus vaccine so far.

How many people in the UK have received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine?
How many people in the UK have received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, pledged that every adult in the UK will be offered a first dose of a vaccine by September.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that over half of all over 80s have now been vaccinated.

He tweeted that jabs to over 70s can now be offered:

The national medical director for the NHS said that expanding the vaccination program to over-70s means that an additional five million people will now be eligible for a Covid-19 jab.

Professor Stephen Powis told Good Morning Britain: "We are now able to expand the vaccination programme beyond those top two priority groups - that's the care home residents, care home staff, the hospital staff and the over-80s - down to the over-70s.

"From today those over 70 years old will be invited in to our vaccination centres."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said those over 70 will receive invitations to get vaccinated "shortly" but that the rollout will vary across the country.

He said: "The important point is that this allows areas that have already vaccinated a majority of those over 80, care home residents, frontline NHS and care home staff to keep the momentum up and to start giving it to further-at-risk people."

Nadhim Zahawi, minister for vaccine deployment, told Sky News that the government will "absolutely" begin pilots for 24/7 vaccination centres before the end of the month.

He announced on twitter that the NHS were averaging up to 140 jabs a minute and that the volunteer army are "knocking the ball out of the park":

The British army are helping to set up 80 new Covid vaccination centres across Scotland.

Members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard carry out a reconnaissance before setting up a Covid-19 vaccination centreat the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility - Jane Barlow/ PA
Members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard carry out a reconnaissance before setting up a Covid-19 vaccination centreat the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility - Jane Barlow/ PA

Archbishop of Canterbury and Labour MP receive first vaccination

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has received his first Covid-19 vaccination and is urging others to follow his example when they are eligible:

Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, has also just received her first jab.

She said: "When you are sent a vaccine appointment, please make sure you go."

Mrs Hodge tweeted the announcement Monday morning:

Act of kindness leaves NHS nurses 'in tears'

A Stoke-on-Trent nurse was left "lost for words" after a group of sixth form students donated pizza for the healthcare workers at their local critical care unit.

Critical care nurse Tina Waltho said: "At a time when healthcare staff feel so low and deflated, responses like this remind us that we are supported.

"The nurse who had been in charge on the day shift was in tears. She had barely eaten all day and was a little emotional."

Ms Waltho's post has been retweeted thousands of times and has caused an outpouring of praise: