‘Massive relief’ as South Africa Lodge care home staff and residents receive Covid vaccinations

RESIDENTS and staff at South Africa Lodge have described their ‘massive relief’ after the care home became the first in Waterlooville to receive its Covid vaccinations.

Sunday, 10th January 2021, 8:25 pm

All 150 staff who work at the home along with 97 of the 99 residents have received their first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The first to receive her jab was health care assistant Gemma Lee, 28.

Gemma, who is also studying to be a nurse, said: ‘This year has been very challenging and it was a big relief to get the vaccine. It’s a great relief that residents will now be protected and their families are really pleased.

‘It has been big concern for staff about potentially bringing Covid into the home and has really made you think about what you do. Hopefully in the future we can now get start to get back to normal and residents can see their families again.’

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Health care assistant Gemma Lee, 28, is the first member of staff to the receive the Covid vaccine.

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General manager Michelle Marcham added: ‘This is an exciting day and it’s great to see the progress which has been made. It’s a big relief to be able to keep residents and staff safe and hopefully this is the beginning of the end in helping us to get back to normal.’

It’s a sentiment echoed by Jan Grant whose husband Reg is a resident at the home.

Jan said: ‘I’ve seen my husband for a total of just two-and-a-half hours since last February. I miss him with all my heart but I fully support and appreciate everything that South Africa Lodge has done to keep him and all the residents safe.

South Africa Lodge Care Home general manager Michelle Marcham (left) and health care assistant Gemma Lee.

‘Throughout this entire pandemic they have acted promptly and wisely according to the situation at the time. If the vaccine allows me to see and hold Reg again, all the waiting and all the efforts of the wonderful staff will have been worthwhile.’

The vaccines were administered by local GPs.

Dr James Mitchell from the Hayling Island Health Centre said: ‘It’s a straight race now between us vaccinating and the virus. I have seen first hand the devastating effect this virus can have. The quicker we can protect care home residents and their staff the better.’

Chief execuitve Johann Van Zyl is relived that staff and residents have been vaccinated.

Chief executive of Cornerstone Healthcare, Johann Van Zyl, who oversees South Africa Lodge, added: ‘It has been a difficult year. Last April we lost two residents due to Covid. It’s a massive relief to be the first care home in the area to be vaccinated. Along with our testing programme, hopefully this will now provide extra safeguarding for residents and staff.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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