Housebound people in Sheffield not forgotten in vaccine rollout, say health bosses

Health bosses in Sheffield have moved to reassure housebound people in the city that they will get their vaccinations soon amid concerns they have been ‘forgotten’ in the vaccine rollout.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 4:45 pm

When the vaccination programme started in December, the Government said it aimed to have everyone in the top four priority groups vaccinated by February 15.

These include elderly care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care workers, the clinically extremely vulnerable and everyone aged 70 and above.

However, because the first vaccine to be approved made by pharmaceutical firm Pfizer had to be kept at incredibly cold temperatures, housebound people couldn't be included in the first wave which started before Christmas.

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The Pfizer vaccine pictured couldn't be transported to people's homes due to the temperature it had to be kept at (Picture: Michael Gillen).

This meant they had to wait until the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine began its roll out in mid-January before the jab could safely be transported to their homes, a process which is still taking place.

Marc Meyer, whose mum attends the Greystones Medical Practice, said she had now been offered a vaccine next week, but questioned whether greater priority could have been given to this very vulnerable group.

And he added that after making enquiries among friends on social media, he found at least six people besides his mum who had been in exactly the same situation.

“Surely the elderly housebound who receive numerous daily visits from home carers are amongst the most vulnerable in our society,” said Marc.

“Most able bodied over 80s, if they are sticking to the rules, will not meet so many people on a daily basis, thus exposing themselves to possible infection.

“Nor will the average care home resident. Yet both of these cohorts have been vaccinated.”

A spokesperson for Sheffield’s NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) said the city’s 15 primary care networks of GP surgeries are being supported in the vaccination rollout by community nurses who are visiting people in their homes.

They added that their ‘ambition’ - if supplies allow - is to have offered vaccines to everyone in the top four priority groups by February 15, and that eligible patients would be contacted by their GP practice to arrange an appointment.

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