Wonderful to get Covid-19 jab before Christmas, says first care home recipient

The first care home resident in Scotland to be vaccinated against coronavirus has said it was “wonderful” to get the jab before Christmas.

Annie Innes, 90, was one of dozens of elderly Scots to be given the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as it was rolled out into care homes.

The former carer, who has been living in Abercorn House Care Home in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, for six months, said she was relieved to have been offered the jab.

She said: “It’s wonderful to get the vaccine before Christmas.

“I hope it keeps me, my friends here and the staff safe and means we can get back to normal very soon.

“The nurses and the care home staff have been great with us and we are relieved to have been offered the vaccine.”

Mrs Innes was followed by 82-year-old Margaret Keating, a former bartender who has been living at Abercorn House for just over a year.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed Scotland is the “first part of the UK today to get the vaccine into care homes”.

This was disputed by the Scottish Conservatives – who pointed to reports jabs had taken place in care homes in Northern Ireland several days ago.

In the past six days, since the vaccination campaign got under way, more than 18,000 health and care workers in Scotland have been given their first jab.

At the weekend, the Scottish Government announced a solution has been agreed to enable transportation of the vaccine from storage hubs to care homes.

It must initially be stored at minus 70C before being thawed out but it can now be “packed down” into smaller batches that can be taken to care homes with “minimal wastage”, as supplies allow.

Ms Sturgeon said getting the necessary approval for that had been a “huge undertaking”.

She said: “When this vaccine was first authorised there was no guarantee at all that as soon as today we would be able to get it into care homes and the fact that we are able to do that today is down to a lot of very difficult and very intense work by our pharmacy officials.”

The First Minister thanked Mrs Innes for being vaccinated, saying she would be “followed in the days and weeks to come by many others”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Care home residents and staff are being prioritised for vaccination from our current supplies of the vaccine, that is obviously a hugely important step in protecting many of the people who are most at risk from this virus.”

She added: “Although today is an important day and gives us all more hope for the future, we are some way off a complete return to normal life. Covid presents a real and present danger. We are not yet out of the woods.”

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Donald Cameron urged the First Minister to “correct the record” over her claim Scotland was the first UK nation to give the jab to care home residents.

Mr Cameron said: “We’re all proud of Scotland’s NHS staff for the wonderful job they are all doing to get the vaccine to care homes.

“But the First Minister has inaccurately boasted that her Government is performing better than the rest of the UK when that’s just not the case.

“She should correct the record, as the public must be sure they are getting accurate information from these live, televised Covid briefings.”

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