I wonder whether the government’s decision to prioritise vaccinating the elderly in care homes has been the best strategy for managing the pandemic, or the best use of the limited supply of vaccines (Give NHS staff Covid vaccine now or face growing winter crisis, say hospital bosses, 18 December).
People in care homes are, on the whole, less mobile in society than those who work in the care homes or visit them, and they are the ones that can bring the virus in and should receive the vaccine.
Similarly, staff in the NHS see many patients every day and are more likely to be the vector of infection rather than one individual patient they see. Vaccinating the nurse will protect more people than vaccinating an elderly person who is likely to stay at home most of the time.
The decision to vaccinate the NHS at a later time has been described as a kick in the teeth for staff, many of whom have succumbed to the virus. I lead a crisis team in London where our staff have continued to do home visits and to see patients face to face, throughout the lockdowns. So far, 24 of our 35 staff have had Covid. This obviously posed a risk to those patients they visited while they were symptomless. We now have to take a back seat to receiving the vaccine, continuing to be a potential risk to those we look after and exposing ourselves to infection from the many patients we see every day.
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• I read with interest (Report, 18 December) that Rupert Murdoch, age 89, received a Covid vaccine at a dedicated vaccine centre in Henley-on-Thames, where “normal hours are understood to have been extended at the last minute”. My mother, who also lives in Henley and who will be 91 next month, has not received any such invitation to have a vaccine. Indeed, she has been informed that she will have to wait. One rule for the rich and another for the local pensioners, perhaps.
• Two stories in Saturday’s Guardian perfectly sum up this government’s priorities. On the one hand, the underpaid NHS staff, who are working hard to keep us all safe, are at the back of the queue for Covid vaccines. On the other hand, an obscenely rich, Australian-born American citizen, who has dedicated his life to making the world a worse place, is at the front.