Plea for care home staff to get vaccinated amid 165 outbreaks

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health. Picture: Norfolk County Council

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant

Workers in Norfolk's care homes are being urged to get vaccinated against Covid-19, amid 165 coronavirus outbreaks.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's public health director, said getting staff vaccinated was crucial to help reduce outbreaks.

The number of coronavirus patients in Norfolk's hospitals has fallen - down to 461 as of Wednesday, 115 fewer than this time last week.

But the number of deaths of people in Norfolk care homes who had tested positive for Covid-19 is still climbing, with 52 more registered with the Care Quality Commission in the week up to Friday, February 5.

And Dr Louise Smith, public health director for Norfolk, appealed for staff to get their jabs.

She said: "As we anticipated, the number of deaths does continue to climb after the total number of cases has been dropping and the number of hospital admissions is dropping.

"We expected to be in the situation that, very sadly, we are seeing a significant number of deaths.

"We do anticipate that will go down as the number of cases drops."

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Dr Smith said a small number of care homes had yet to have residents vaccinated, which had been in the midst of outbreaks when vaccinations were due to take place.

She said vaccination teams would be going in as soon as possible after fresh risk assessments.

But she said: "There are two things which will stand in the way of getting everybody, 100pc vaccinated.

"The first is the need for an ongoing programme of vaccination for new residents, which is being managed by the NHS.

"The second challenge is getting all of the care home staff vaccinated.

"We are, through our colleagues in the hospitals, putting invitations out for all health and social care staff to be vaccinated.

"We have identified over 15,000 people who are being contacted and asked to book an appointment.

"We are making really good progress on those numbers being vaccinated, but if I were to get one message out, I'd really like to encourage all health and social care staff to come forward for their vaccination."

Dr Smith said there had not been many examples of staff declining the vaccine, but there had been issues with people getting transport and time off work to get jabs.