Piers Morgan was in no mood to let Helen Whately hide behind today’s vaccination news after quizzing her on the mistakes made up to this point.
The UK has one of the highest Covid death rates in the world thanks, in part, to significant outbreaks in care homes.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics and official sources in Scotland and Northern Ireland for the week to 8 January showed more than 25,000 people had died from Covid in care homes across the UK since the start of the pandemic.
However, the number of care home residents who have succumbed to Covid is more than 6,000 higher once deaths after residents were admitted to hospital are taken into account.
Truly devastating. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones. There will be a time to remember and reflect, and we are already learning lessons. The most important thing we can do now is work together with even greater resolve to overcome this cruel virus. https://t.co/fOtftU5uYX— Helen Whately (@Helen_Whately) January 27, 2021
Appearing on Good Morning Britain care minister Whately admitted that mistakes had been made because there were many things the government didn’t know at the start of the outbreak, such as the need for mass testing and details on asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
Putting her to task on the matter, Morgan asked: “What do you say to the families of the people who lost their elderly relatives?” due to this oversight:
'What do you say to the families of the people who lost their elderly relatives?'— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 1, 2021
Care Minister @Helen_Whately tells @piersmorgan that the govt has been trying to 'do so much to protect care homes' including money to support extra staffing, testing and free PPE. pic.twitter.com/WRuvjpNs9J
Today it was revealed that the coronavirus vaccine has been offered to residents at every eligible care home with older people in England.
NHS England said people living at more than 10,000 care homes with older residents had been offered the jab.
A small number of homes had visits deferred for safety reasons during a local outbreak but would be visited as soon as it was safe for NHS staff to do so, a spokesman for NHS England said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today marks a crucial milestone in our ongoing race to vaccinate the most vulnerable against this deadly disease.
“We said we would prioritise and protect care home residents, and that is exactly what we have done.
“There will be difficult moments to come, and the number of cases and people in hospital remains dangerously high.
“But vaccines are our route out of the pandemic, and having protected 8.9 million people with a first dose so far, our rollout programme will only accelerate from here on.”
Appalling loss of life
Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow social care minister, said: “After the appalling loss of life in care homes it is very good news that the NHS has now offered vaccines for all elderly care home residents.
“It is essential that ministers now do everything possible to ensure care home staff take up their vaccines, move swiftly to vaccinate care homes for people with disabilities and crucially, home care staff who care for elderly and disabled people in their own homes.
“We are in a race against time against this awful virus and ministers must leave no stone overturned to vaccinate all social care staff within the next two weeks.”
Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 250 hospitals, 1,000 GP-led services, 117 high street pharmacies and 47 large-scale vaccination centres across the country.