The first coronavirus vaccine to be administered in a Scottish care home took place on Monday (December 14th). Annie Innes, a former carer herself, was given the vaccination in Hamilton in South Lanarkshire.
Receiving the jab, the 90-year-old represented the beginning of the Scottish government’s plan to roll out the vaccine across care homes this week. The rest of the UK is expected to follow Scotland after challenges with keeping the Pfizer vaccine chilled were overcome.
Jeane Freeman, health secretary for Scotland, said: “I want to thank all those involved in the roll-out of the vaccination programme. It has been a challenge to get the Pfizer vaccine into care homes because of transport and storage requirements but I am delighted to see Mrs Innes become the first care home resident to receive her vaccine and I wish her many more years of good health.”
During the same session that Mrs Innes was vaccinated, 52 other residents of the care home were also given the jab. They were administered by staff from NHS Lanarkshire, who were among the first to receive the vaccine on December 8th.
Ms Freeman said that residents of care homes for the elderly were being prioritised in the vaccine schedule due to their vulnerability to coronavirus. She highlighted the importance of the extra layer of protection it will provide.
The health secretary also pointed out that around 50 per cent of the stock of the vaccine already received is being kept back to be given as a second dose to the current recipients. This is because immunity is not achieved until two jabs have been administered. The care home residents vaccinated on Monday will get their second shot early in the New Year.
Pfizer’s vaccine comes alongside a mass testing of visitors to care homes in order to allow family members to see each other at Christmas. Officials are reminding everyone that although these measures represent big steps forward, regular hand washing, face coverings and social distancing are still important.
Trudi Marshall, health and social care North Lanarkshire nurse director, spoke about the logistical challenges of vaccinating all of the care home residents in the council area. Not only has detailed planning been carried out to ensure the 2,990 care home residents and 5,601 staff across 93 care homes are protected, but the vaccinator nursing workforce has also been scaled up.