Staff and residents at NorseCare homes and housing with care schemes have expressed their delight as the vaccination programme has started to gain pace.

The vaccine has now been received at care settings including; Laburnum Grove, in Thetford, Robert Kett Court, in Wymondham and Cranmer House, in Fakenham among others, with more planned this week and into next.

Every resident* at Woodlands care home, in South Wootton, near King’s Lynn, in west Norfolk, has now received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which was delivered by the local GP practice.

Over two thirds of staff at the home have also received the vaccine so far as designated priority frontline staff, ensuring that they can continue to provide care and support to residents and keep them as safe as possible.

Care home manager at Woodlands, Serena Hill, said it has been an emotional time to see the vaccine rollout to the people she and her team care for, and that it felt like an ‘historic day’.

“I think we all could have jumped for joy when we heard that the vaccine was on its way to us. It has certainly created plenty of emotion to see our residents get this vital, even lifesaving, protection. It feels like there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel in what has been such a difficult time for our residents and their families.

“I am so proud of the hard work and dedication that my team have shown in such tough times too,” she said. “We are all very much in this together and all of us want what is best for the people we care for.”

Residents were equally upbeat, including 87 year-old Betty Blade, who spoke of her excitement and relief at receiving her vaccination.

Another resident said he was “over the moon”, with many describing their renewed hopes of being able to see their family and friends again soon.

Martin Rix, Chief Operating Officer for NorseCare, said: “We are delighted that the rollout has started in our homes and schemes across Norfolk and into Suffolk.

“This is such a significant milestone; we have all been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the vaccine and to see the first vaccinations starting to be delivered is wonderful.

“Whilst it doesn’t mean that we can relax our vital infection control measures, it will offer our residents, tenants and staff a crucial additional layer of protection and we hope, eventually, plot a route back to normality.

“All of our homes have worked so hard to ensure that they are completely ready when their turn comes. In the meantime, those staff are working very hard to do everything they can to keep those we care for and those who work for us as safe as possible.”

With the Government’s vaccine delivery plan continuing to gather momentum, it is hoped that the majority of staff and residents who confirm* that they would like to be vaccinated – and who can safely be vaccinated at this time – will be offered the opportunity to receive one by the end of January.