Cera is calling for home care staff to be trained to administer the COVID-19 vaccines after it revealed that only about 1% of the 10,000 people it cares for have received the jab.
The company said thousands of elderly people who use its services are either “too frail” to travel to vaccination centres or “fear infection” if they do.
It believes this trend is likely to be reflected across the home care sector.
More than half of Cera’s clients are over 80, which puts them, along with social care staff, second in line for a COVID vaccine in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) priority list.
Dr Ben Maruthappu, chief executive of Cera, told the Guardian: “Whilst we were right to prioritise older people for vaccinations, we have totally overlooked the logistical and lifestyle challenges that many of them face in attending appointments.
“Our data points to a stark problem that needs to be addressed urgently. If those that are unable or unwilling to attend remote appointments aren’t vaccinated in their own homes, we’ll continue to see the virus spread among the most vulnerable and won’t be able to get the R rate down sufficiently.”
Maruthappu said the low numbers were down to the difficulty of moving clients from their homes to GP surgeries or vaccination centres to receive the jab, their fear of attending clinical settings and catching COVID, and a measure of vaccine hesitancy.
Cera said 29% of its workers had received the vaccine. The government has said the top four priority groups will receive the jab by February 15.
The company is now calling for home care workers to be trained to administer jabs and for mobile units to be rolled out to get doses to vulnerable people being cared for at home.
It tweeted earlier this week: “Cera’s data suggests that just 1% of those requiring home care in the UK have received the vaccine. We’re calling for in-home testing to help the #ForgottenMillion”