Yesterday Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, in the House of Commons, raised the issue of potential delay in vaccinating people in Brent Care Homes
Mr James Canning became our first octogenarian in Brent to receive the vaccine earlier this week. While congratulating him and the Wembley Practice team who delivered it, does the Secretary of State share my concern that care homes in Brent have been advised that the 970 doses that are in the vaccine packs cannot be split because of the licensing conditions, meaning that those in our care homes who are over 80 may have to wait until February or for the Oxford vaccine before they get vaccinated? Is that the case? If so, why? That is hardly the “protective ring” around care homes that he promised.
I am glad to say that we are making significant progress on tackling this issue. When the hon. Gentleman says it is a licensing concern, that should not be read to imply that it is some bureaucratic rule; it is about ensuring that things are done safely. If the vaccine is not delivered safely to the site, it is not an effective vaccine. Therefore, we are taking it carefully to be able to vaccinate in care homes. There has been some vaccination in care homes across the UK, so it can be done, and I hope we can make good progress soon.