Jewish Care staff are among first to get Covid vaccinations

Charity is launching campaign to encourage employees, residents and relatives to get vaccinated as soon as the opportunity arises. Other welfare chiefs prepare for roll-out


Jewish Care employees have been among the first to get Covid vaccinations.

They include Mary Mabunga, a day duty leader at the charity's Otto Schiff care home in Golders Green, received her first dose of the vaccine on Wednesday night.

“Only when I’m healthy can I confidently care for and serve others," she said. "The Covid-19 vaccine gives me the confidence to continue the great work of being of service to our vulnerable adults.”

Mira Stamatova, registered manager at Otto Schiff, was also vaccinated on Wednesday. 

“It was a really easy process to register for and receive the vaccine," she said. "The staff administering the vaccine were all lovely and were very clear about what was going to happen, I felt completely safe the whole time. It’s so important that we are vaccinated so that we can continue to protect ourselves, our families and the residents from the virus.”

Ms Stamatova strongly supports Jewish Care’s drive to ensure staff, residents, tenants and their relatives get vaccinated as soon as the opportunity arises.

The campaign is designed to “answer any questions and bust myths around the vaccine”.

A webinar with a number of healthcare professionals will be held for Jewish Care staff next week and employees will also receive letters with information on how to book themselves into their nearest vaccination hub.

Chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “We are hopeful that this vaccine is a sign that things will begin to return to some kind of normality next year. But we need the take up of the vaccine to be high in order to be able to do this.”

As the national roll-out began this week, the CEO of The Fed in Manchester, Mark Cunningham, told the JC: “There is a disconnection between what is announced on the morning news and the reality on the ground.

“In terms of the vaccine, we have been in discussion with the CCG [Clinical Commissioning Group] and council for almost two weeks looking at the logistics. We have now received consent forms for both staff and residents.”

On Wednesday, Mr Cunningham reported that vaccination of staff would start early next week, via a local hub. There was no news on vaccinations for residents at the charity’s Heathlands complex.

“The operational logistics are huge. Including staff and residents, we have 500-plus people on one site,” he pointed out.

It was likely that residents would be vaccinated at Heathlands, as nursing staff had received the necessary training.

He added that the charity did not yet have access to the lateral flow tests “which would facilitate easier visiting”.

In the capital, Nightingale Hammerson CEO Helen Simmons said its Nightingale home in Clapham had received an “open invitation” from South-West London CCG for staff to book appointments with Croydon and St George’s hospitals for vaccinations.

“The CCG is suggesting that residents may not receive the vaccine until January, due to the problem of transporting it stably. However, we are in discussions with our GP service to see if we can speed this up.

“We hope that many of our staff will have had their first dose by the end of the year and that lateral flow testing for visitors will be introduced soon.”

At Donisthorpe Hall in Leeds, care home manager Nicky Murphy looked forward “to rolling out the vaccine programme to residents and care staff as soon as possible”.

In addition, the home had recently reinstated “window visits”, a move welcomed by residents and their relatives.

Back in Manchester, Mr Cunningham highlighted another key challenge facing care providers, explaining: “This week we had our 270th member of staff unavailable for work due to a Covid-related issue. We have a workforce of about 350. The operational challenges are massive.”

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