The “top priority” for vaccinations is the residents and employees of nursing homes, says the health minister.
Matt Hancock has informed the House of Commons of news in the UK that 40 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine have been received in development by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech, which have been shown to be 90 percent effective in preventing the disease.
Later, Conservative MP Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) asked for “absolute confirmation” that there would be enough vaccinations for all residents and staff in nursing homes.
In response, Hancock said, “The top priority based on clinical analysis for this vaccine is the residents of nursing homes and the staff who look after them so well.
“They are in the very first categorization because they are the most susceptible to this disease.”
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth called for families of relatives in nursing homes to have “priority access” to side flow tests, telling the Commons, “This is how they can go to the nursing home, see their loved ones, and maybe even hold their hand or hug you. ”
Regarding the vaccine, Mr Ashworth said it was a “moment of great hope in a bleak, gloomy year that has rocked so many families,” and he was cautiously optimistic.
The Labor Frontbencher called for the government’s working assumption regarding the proportion of the population that needs to be vaccinated to establish herd immunity and bring the R below one.
Mr. Ashworth continued, “If we vaccinate the most vulnerable, fewer people will be at risk and deaths and infections will decrease.”
Former Conservative Cabinet Secretary Damian Green asked if family members of nursing home residents could get Covid tests to help them reunite with loved ones.
Mr Hancock said the government is working to address this “conundrum”, adding, “We need to keep people safe in nursing homes, but at the same time we obviously want to allow as many visits as possible.”