Harrogate care boss ‘frustrated’ at vaccine rollout
Last updated Jan 13, 2021
Sue Cawthray
Sue Cawthray CEO of Harrogate Neighbours.

The chief executive of a care charity in the Harrogate district has spoken of her frustration over the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

Care home residents and staff are classed as high risk groups and are among the first to be vaccinated as part of the national programme.

The government has set a target of February 15 to offer the vaccine to all vulnerable groups.

But Sue Cawthray, chief executive of Harrogate Neighbours, which provides accommodation for older people, has said so far no residents or staff at its premises have been vaccinated.

Harrogate Neighbours operates Heath Lodge on Pannal Ash Road and the Cuttings on Station View. 

Ms Cawthray told the Stray Ferret she understood GPs were under pressure but the lack of communication was frustrating.

She said:

“Personally, I think the whole vaccine thing is a bit of a nightmare. None of us have had it yet. We’ve got a handful of people at the Cuttings who have got appointments at the Great Yorkshire Showground.

“The vaccine only arrived in Yorkshire on Thursday so I’ve got to give them a chance. I’ve been told they’re giving it to the larger care homes first. When they had the first vaccine, they did that because of the way it came in quantities and had to be used quickly or it was thrown away.

“The GPs are under so much pressure anyway. People are still ill with other bugs. They’ve just finished doing flu vaccines and now they’ve got this to do. Part of me feels sorry for them because it’s such a big undertaking for them.

“The communication is really bad still. Everything comes out late. We’re just finding it frustrating. We were asked way before Christmas for lists and forms ready to receive the vaccine. Now here we are in mid-January and we’ve not even had a phone call.”

According to North Yorkshire County Council figures today, 79 out of 235 North Yorkshire care settings, which includes care homes and extra care facilities, has one or more covid cases among residents of staff.

Health chiefs have urged care homes to be vigilant over visits from family and friends, even with the vaccine rollout.

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Richard Webb, director of health and adult care at the authority, said:

“Though it’s hard with a new lockdown, the vaccines have arrived and in the coming weeks and months more and more people in our settings will have much greater protection against the virus.

“But for now, we have to assume that the new, more transmissible variant of covid is in our county so, although everybody is tired, we must redouble our efforts to stay safe and to protect our care home residents and staff. Above all we must all stay vigilant with facemasks, hand washing and social distancing.”

Mr Webb added he has also asked care homes to be patient on the rollout of the vaccine.

“My main message to providers today is please be patient. The vaccination will be made available to people using your services and to your staff and this will happen in the coming weeks as more doses of the different vaccines become available. It is better that the vaccination programme is implemented in a safe way, than rushed.

“Local NHS colleagues are working around the clock and, as soon as the national distribution system delivers new vaccine batches to North Yorkshire, they will be contacting people to vaccinate them. In most cases, GPs and their teams will be contacting you. However, in some cases, your local hospital may also offer vaccinations to staff and to people using services.”


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