Published on: 9 February 2021

All residents and members of staff in care homes for older people across Sunderland have now been offered the Covid -19 vaccine.

The news comes two weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson singled the city out for praise for its efforts to protect the vulnerable in a news conference and ahead of the expectation that all people within the four top priority groups will be vaccinated by 15 February.

The drive to vaccinate over 1,650 residents and 2,000 staff across the city's 50 care homes for older people against the virus began at New Year with teams of community nurses from South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust working to deliver the jabs in care homes.

The vaccination programme is being delivered by a partnership made up of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and Sunderland City Council, Primary Care Networks and Sunderland GP Alliance

Council Leader Councillor Graeme Miller, said: "I'm delighted to be able to confirm that all eligible residents and staff in Sunderland's care homes for older people have now been offered the vaccine. The programme  to offer the vaccine to those working in other settings, including those who deliver care to people in their own homes is also well underway.

"It's vital that we do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and the dedicated staff who look after them so this is an important milestone.

"While we all need to remain cautious and keep following the guidance in place to keep us all safe, even after being vaccinated, we know how much the families of those in care homes have been longing for the day when their loved ones would be vaccinated and we hope this gives them some reassurance and peace of mind. 

"It's also good news for the dedicated care home staff who deserve our eternal thanks for all they have done to look after our most vulnerable residents throughout this pandemic.

"And I'd like to thank our excellent colleagues in the community nursing team for delivering the vaccine programme to care home residents and staff, and our partners at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group for everything they have done to help drive this forward.

Anna Hargrave, Divisional Director for Community Services at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The COVID-19 vaccine has brought hope to everyone in our local communities, especially those in our care homes who are at much higher risk of serious illness. I am extremely proud of the way our community teams have stepped up to ensure that care home residents and staff receive the vaccine. It’s been very much a team effort and really shines a light on how successfully we work together as a system to ensure that local people get the very best care possible."

Dr Neil O’Brien, Clinical Accountable Officer for NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group said: "Local health partners have worked together to get the vaccine to this priority group in such a short space of time. I commend everyone involved in this work for their dedication and professionalism.

"We have made a significant step towards ensuring our most vulnerable patients gain significant increased protection against the Covid-19 virus and I’m delighted to share that, as well as completing care home vaccinations in Sunderland, we are on track to have vaccinated all of the top four priority groups by the end of next week.

"Remember, for our communities to be fully protected, it is important that we continue to follow the stay safe rules and have your vaccination when it is your turn."