“No-one gets left behind” as more housebound patients receive COVID protection

Housebound patients have been reassured they are a high priority to receive protection from COVID.

The vaccination programme continues to accelerate across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

But there have been concerns that in some areas patients aged over 70 and other at-risk groups are being invited to be vaccinated while not all over 80s are yet protected.

“Absolutely no-one will be forgotten,” said Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the Vaccination Programme. “But there are good reasons why it has taken longer to vaccinate some people rather than others.”

Patients are generally vaccinated in:

  • GP-led vaccination centres run by Primary Care Networks (PCNs). Up to 1,000 patients vaccinated per day all under one roof without the need for vaccination teams to travel
  • Pharmacy led vaccination centres
  • New community vaccinating centres in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford with a third opening soon
  • Care homes vaccinations. Often able to vaccinate over 100 people under one roof with some travel for vaccination teams between homes
  • Housebound patients. With each individual vaccine requiring vaccinators to travel

Dr Hannigan said: “The priority has been to vaccinate the largest number of people in the shortest practical time. That can be achieved best at our network of over 23 GP-led centres and other centres in the community but that requires patients to be able to travel to us.

“We have made great progress in these centres. We have also offered vaccine to every one of the 330 care homes in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and have vaccinated in the vast majority.

“We are reaching those patients who live in their own homes but find it difficult or impossible to leave home. This means “roving” vaccination teams making a separate journey for each single vaccination delivered. It’s more complex and takes far longer for each patient, but it’s important work and we are making progress.”

An extra reason why vaccination in community vaccination centres was prioritised is vaccine availability.

Dr Hannigan explained: “The first vaccine to become available was that made by Pfizer. It is more challenging to administer for a variety of reasons. The Oxford vaccine from AstraZenica reached us at a later date but is now reaching us in larger quantities.

“No-one has been forgotten. We are reaching them, and overcoming the extra practical challenges involved.”

Dr Hannigan added: “In the meantime we all need to concentrate on following the national lockdown regulations, stay at home and take COVID advice from official NHS sources.”