The Vaccination Quick Response Force (QVRF) arrived at Broughton House in Salford last Friday to administer the vaccine to former service personnel. The six person team is one of three based regionally in support of the NHS in the North West
The charity-run home, the region's primary provider of veterans' care for more than 100 years, thought their residents would appreciate their vaccinations being administered by friendly faces in uniform.
Colonel Russ Miller OBE, Commander Army Headquarters North West, and a trustee at Broughton House, said: “Broughton House asked whether they could get military vaccinators to assist with their first load of vaccinations and it’s a fantastic opportunity to marry up the military youth of today with the veterans that we’re looking after, here in the North West.
“There was a lot of chat between the residents and the medics we’ve got here. It was wonderful to enable them to have different conversations with people in uniform. It’s a dose of familiarity for people who have been suffering in lockdown and been unable to socialise in the normal way.
Royal Navy Leading Medical Assistant Kate Edwards, who carried out some of the vaccinations at Broughton House, said: “It was really heartwarming to be able to come in and serve those who have served us while supporting the NHS. It was lovely to hear some of their tales.”
Alison Wiseman, care home manager at Broughton House, said: "We are delighted that all of our residents were able to be vaccinated, and having serving members of the military administer the vaccines made it special for them. It was a very welcome collaboration with the Salford Care Homes Medical Practice, which provides our veterans with GP services, and was greatly appreciated by everyone at Broughton House."
They QVRF was supporting NHS staff from the Care Homes Medical Practice, a unique service for Salford that provides GP services only for care home residents.
The practice is part of the NHS’s local GP-led primary care networks. Across England, GPs have now vaccinated hundreds of thousands of older and vulnerable people across the country, including in care homes.
All older care home residents are expected to have been offered vaccination by local GPs by the end of January. The new Oxford vaccine is easier to transport and store than the Pfizer jab, so is now also being used for care home residents who often cannot travel to dedicated vaccination sites.
Dr Mike Hazeldine GP, leading the NHS vaccination team who visited Broughton House, said: “Our teams have been vaccinating in care homes since the beginning of January, and we have now almost completed our programme to administer the first dose to all care home residents across Salford.
“We as NHS don’t consider ourselves heroes, but today we have been meeting and vaccinating real heroes. It’s a privilege to be able to meet them and give them the vaccines that mean they might soon be able to see their families properly again.”