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Vaccination programme rolls out to care homes

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Care home residents across the Island will be offered protection from Covid-19 over the coming weeks as the vaccination rollout programme expands into the community.

A team of vaccinators will visit residential homes operated by the Department of Health and Social Care and the private sector, starting on Monday 18 January at Southlands in Port Erin.

Care home residents are among the top priority groups for vaccination, and will be the first people in the Island to be given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which like the Pfizer vaccine, offers substantial protection from serious illness caused by Covid-19.

Staff at the homes have been preparing for the rollout for some weeks while the documentation and operational procedures for administering the vaccine were being finalised. The majority of residents have indicated they wish to have the jab and their informed consent will be confirmed by the healthcare admin team on the day of their vaccination.

After Southlands, the team will be on the road throughout the week, touring the Island to visit several care homes a day, and by the end of the week it is expected well over 200 residents will have received their first vaccination.

At the same time, the vaccination rollout to health and care staff and the over 80s will continue at ward 20 on the Noble’s Hospital site. Already, more than 2000 frontline staff from the public and private sectors across the Island have received the Pfizer vaccine, the first approved, effective vaccine against Covid-19, protecting staff, patients and service users.

Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said:

‘With the AstraZeneca vaccine now on Island, and preparations complete, our vaccination programme can accelerate. This vaccine is much easier to handle, store and administer, and the vaccine will be going into arms around the Island, five days a week. We now have hub and community rollout operating in tandem, using different vaccines and parallel teams, and we aim to have reached the top priority groups by mid to end of March, supplies of vaccine to the Island allowing.

He added:

‘As we’ve said before, this is the biggest and most complex mass vaccination programme ever undertaken in the Isle of Man and it has required extensive planning, logistics and training. We are rapidly gaining experience and I’m delighted at how smoothly the operation is running. I thank everyone involved for their input, commitment and many extra hours worked to ensure vaccine is getting to the most vulnerable groups in our community.’

A multi-disciplinary vaccinator team is lined up for the residential home rollout, including nurses, health visitors and pharmacists. Other registered health professionals will join the rollout programme as it continues to expand in the weeks ahead. Next to be offered a vaccination will be residents of the Island’s nursing homes, who are due to be visited in the week commencing 25 January. Across the residential and nursing home sector 1,000 individuals will be vaccinated over the coming weeks.

The vaccination hub is now almost finalised at the airport and work has just begun at the former Shoprite premises in Chester Street in Douglas. The airport hub is scheduled to go live at the end of this month, with the Douglas centre due to open by mid-February. Both sites have been developed at speed by the Department of Infrastructure which has provided bespoke, flexible facilities in existing government owned buildings, to ensure members of the public can be seen in comfort and safety at a convenient location when it is their turn for a vaccination.