Vulnerable Londoners prioritised for winter protection in NHS milestone

With darker night’s drawing in and Christmas lights illuminating Oxford Street, now is the time for people to get their winter vaccinations to protect themselves and their families from Covid and flu.  

Today the NHS announces that 100 per cent of all London’s 1,300 care homes, which are home to nearly 27,000 people have now been visited by a covid and flu vaccination team.  

This makes London the first region in the UK to have hit this milestone and offered protection to people who may become seriously ill, or even need to be hospitalised due to their age, or if they have weakened immune systems, perhaps because they’re undergoing cancer treatment.  

The NHS in London started vaccinating care-home residents across the capital in September. These residents are some of the most vulnerable people in London, and if they catch covid or flu they risk become very unwell. 

Welmar Patarata, Home Manager at Acton Care Centre, which was visited by a roving health team in October, when 102 vulnerable patients were vaccinated, said:

“It is wonderful that our residents have had the opportunity to get winter-ready and vaccinated against covid and flu.

“Winter can be a challenging time of year for care home residents and this year’s vaccination campaign is good news for our residents, their families and the wider NHS.

“That so many residents across the whole of London have been vaccinated is testament to hard work of colleagues across the city.” 

With more locations than ever offering vaccinations across the capital, there is still time for people to come forward for their vaccinations and ensure they’re protected this winter.  

More than 800,000 eligible Londoners been vaccinated so far against Covid since the start of this year’s campaign, with1.34 million have been vaccinated against flu. 

This year’s adult covid and flu vaccination programme was brought forward based on the latest expert advice following the emergence of a new covid variant, to ensure that all eligible people across London had the opportunity to get their vaccinations before winter.  

Last year, the NHS faced the ‘twindemic’ of flu and covid with high occupancy in hospitals and record pressure on staff and plans for this winter are already underway. The latest data shows from the UK Health Security Agency reveals that last year’s vaccine prevented around 25,000 hospitalisations in England. 

Commenting on today’s milestone, Martin Machray, Director of Improvement for NHS London said:  

“Care-home residents are some of London’s most vulnerable people so it’s great news that all these groups have had the opportunity to get vaccinated and winter-ready. It’s been a huge team effort by our teams in London to protect them, with all parts of our organisation contributing, from leading hospitals to neighbourhood pharmacies.  

“The hard-work of NHS staff and the engagement we’ve seen from people across the city, means that care-home residents, as well as their families, carers and communities, can go into this winter knowing they are safe and protected.”

Abi Wood, CEO of Age UK London said:

“We’re really pleased to be working with NHS London and playing a small part in this campaign to encourage eligible older Londoners to ensure they get vaccinated against flu and covid.  

“We’re delighted to see that the important and vast task of protecting thousands of care home residents across London has now been completed, and that more than million people have been vaccinated against flu so far.  

“However, the aim is to ensure every person who is eligible is vaccinated and we will continue over the coming weeks to educate and support older Londoners, through our events and communications, to stay healthy this winter and protect themselves against preventable illness.”