In the Telegraph yesterday, this story chills. It chills because of what I know and what the report only hints at. The report begins with these shocking facts:
Coronavirus outbreaks in care homes have more than trebled in a month, with levels of infections now similar to those at the peak of the first wave, new figures show. The latest surveillance data from Public Health England (PHE) reveals that, in the week up to January 14, there were 977 outbreaks of suspected coronavirus – the second highest weekly total since records began in April.
Further on we hear that only 25% or maybe ‘one third’ of care home residents in England have been vaccinated. There’s no sense of urgency in the writing or in the quotes from politicians. That more than 80% had been vaccinated in Scottish care homes two days ago, is not mentioned. Also, that there were only 26 outbreaks (a quarter of the rate) in Scottish care homes in the same week, not mentioned.
If someone unwittingly brings the virus into a care home where only 1 in 3 have been vaccinated, unless infection control is near perfect, it will spread and it will kill many just as it did in the Spring of 2020.
To have prioritised other groups ahead of care home residents because it was more difficult logistically will not wash. Scotland has done it. There is only one mention of Scotland in the report:
Mike Padgham, the chairman of the Independent Care Group, said: “It’s shocking to see these figures. It’s great that we’ve got vaccines, but they’ve come too slowly. In Scotland, they found a way to get them into care homes more quickly than we did in England. We could have avoided this.
They were warned. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was very clear that those who live in care homes were the top priority for vaccination against covid-19.
Perhaps to get more vaccinated, in a vain schoolboy competition with Scotland and with Europe, it seems they prioritised those less at risk and who could be expected to stand in a long queue, before passing quickly through a mass vaccination centre – world-beating!