Joy and hope as Covid vaccine finally reaches care homes

'It’s far better than having an illness and takes away all that terrible worry,' says 97-year-old as she is among the first vaccinated


For Sylvia Rosenthal, 97, it was a massive relief to receive her first Covid vaccination at Manchester’s Heathlands campus, run by welfare charity The Fed.

“It’s far better than having an illness and takes away all that terrible worry,” she said. “It means we can get on with our lives. We’re all hoping things will be better — and hoping with a very, very large ‘H’.”

Ms Rosenthal’s sentiments were echoed at Jewish care homes across the country as the vaccine was rolled out to residents and staff.

The Fed reports that all its 120 residents and tenants have had their first vaccination, as well as around 130 staff, representing a third of its workforce. Chief executive Mark Cunningham was “pleased to have achieved this level of vaccination in a fairly short space of time. Hopefully, the availability of the Oxford vaccine will enable us to increase the numbers, which have been limited by the operational constraints of the Pfizer vaccine.”

His understanding was that those already vaccinated would receive their second dose within three weeks, rather than the three-month gap now being advocated, although he acknowledged that the situation was changing constantly.

More than 100 staff and residents were vaccinated at Jewish Care’s Anita Dorfman House on its Sandringham, Stanmore, complex on December 29. The residents were the first from the charity to be given their initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Staff and residents at its Otto Schiff home in Golders Green and Rela Goldhill at Otto Schiff, for those living with disabilities, were vaccinated the next day and subsequent sessions were held at its Kun Mor and George Kiss home in Friern Barnet and Jack Gardner House in Golders Green for young people with mental health needs.

On Wednesday, Jewish Care reported that 159 of more than 430 residents across its homes had been vaccinated.

After receiving her vaccination at Anita Dorfman House, resident Evelyn White, 85, said: “The treatment and the care were perfect and the vaccine is a right step in a right direction.”

Jewish Care CEO Daniel Carmel-Brown was “delighted that the vaccine is finally starting to be administered in care homes. Residents and their families are so relieved that their loved ones are on course to having protection against the virus.”

Nightingale Hammerson CEO Helen Simmons was “proud” to report that Nightingale House in Clapham “was the first care home in London and one of the first six in England to start administration of the vaccine. On December 24, we had over 100 residents vaccinated.

“We hope to get more vaccines delivered for remaining residents and staff to get access to them within the care home rather than having to attend hospital, although some team members have got a head start and been vaccinated in hospital.

The Sage nursing home in Golders Green was also among the first to arrange a first round of vaccinations. “This, hopefully, will really make a big difference to us at Sage and give some sense of security to our staff,” said Sage co-chair Adrian Jacobs.

“In the first wave, Sage suffered very badly with 21 residents succumbing to the virus and the home having to be sealed to the outside world. Several more residents also caught the virus but thankfully have recovered.”

Ar Liverpool’s Stapely care and nursing home, trustee Philip Ettinger reported that the launch of its vaccination programme for patients, residents and staff had been conducted with “military precision. “This is potentially very positive news and we hope it will be the start of the road back to some form of normality for everyone.”

All permanent residents at Belong Morris Feinmann in Manchester received their initial vaccine dose before the New Year and the roll-out for staff is ongoing, with more than 50 having been inoculated. Donisthope Hall in Leeds anticipated residents being vaccinated at the end of this week.



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