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Care home visits could restart before second COVID doses are given

Care minister Helen Whately has said that care home visits could restart before residents receive their second COVID vaccination doses – up to 12 weeks after the first.

She was speaking on BBC Breakfast on Monday 1 February, the morning after the health department announced that all care homes in England had now been offered the COVID vaccination.

This follows the Government’s pledge that all 300,000 care home residents and 500,000 staff would be offered vaccination by January 31.

In the interview with BBC Breakfast, Whately acknowledged the importance to care home residents of family visits and intimated that visits could restart once residents had time to develop sufficient immunity. 

She said: “We do want to be able to enable people to begin visiting again. We are doing what can we to allow more visiting to start again.”

Only those care homes with COVID outbreaks are yet to receive their offer of COVID vaccination. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also warned that the number of cases and people in hospital “remains dangerously high”. 

The Independent Care Group Chair Mike Padgham said: “This is a tremendous step forward in our fight to protect the most vulnerable. We must ensure that [missed homes] are picked up as soon as it is safe.”  

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