Health Secretary Matt Hancock has assured all clinically vulnerable people who are unable to travel to a vaccine centre will be vaccinated by 15 February.
Hancock was accused of a lack of communication about the Covid vaccine for extremely vulnerable groups by Senior Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley.
The Health Secretary acknowledged his concerns and detailed how people in this category would be reached. Here is what he said and what it means for housebound individuals.
Can I get a vaccine at home?
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable to the extent where for medical reasons they cannot leave their homes, are entitled to the vaccine at home.
A doctor or nurse will visit your home, where you will receive your first dose of the vaccine.
12 weeks later you will receive another visit to get your second vaccine dose.
The programme is being rolled out by individuals NHS local care networks, but all clinically vulnerable people and those aged over 80 will be vaccinated by 15 February.
This was emphasised by the Hancock in the House of Commons on Thursday, 21 October.
He said: "We will offer vaccination to everybody in the top four categories, over seventies, clinically extremely vulnerable, and health and social care workers, including the residents in care homes by 15th February.
"The exact order within that queue is for a local area to decide and sometimes people might get invited to two different methods of vaccination, whether to one of the big sites and by their local GP.
"For people who are housebound, there are roving teams led by the local care networks to get out and vaccinate them. The offer will come and people should be assured as of today around two-thirds of all over 80s have been vaccinated.
"We will get to everyone and make sure everyone gets that offer to be vaccinated by 15th Feb."
What vaccine can I get at home?
The vaccination of housebound patients was postponed in the early phase of the vaccine rollout because the Pfizer vaccine was the only one available.
It needs to be stored at -70C, meaning it cannot be transported to homes easily.
However, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at room temperature, making this a more viable option for housebound patients.
Both vaccinations require two doses to reach maximum efficacy - of up to 95 percent immunity.
Can people visit my home again once I am vaccinated?
Those who are housebound will undoubtedly be looking forward to the time when they can have family and friends back into their home - after 10 months of isolation.
However, at present even those who are vaccinated will be required to socially distance and not have people into their homes or garden.
The only exception to this rule is if you have formed a bubble with another single-person unit, or if you are a single person and formed a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.
Until the most vulnerable groups on the priority list have been vaccinated, there are expected to be some form of social distancing regulations.
What is the vaccination schedule?
The UK government has outlined their vaccination schedule, in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority groups.
The nine priority groups include:
- Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- All those aged 80 and over, frontline health and social care workers
- All those aged 75 and over
- All those aged 70 and over, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- All those aged 65 and over
- All individuals aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions
- All those aged 60 and over
- All those aged 55 and over
- All those aged 50 and over
These groups cover about 25 million people in the UK.
The UK Government’s current plan is to offer the jab to all 15 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February.
There is then a target to administer the first dose of the vaccination to the last five groups by May.
If all targets are met, all nine priority groups will have received both doses by mid-July.