By the beginning of June, residents at 100 of the total 176 state-run elder care homes in the Western Province had been administered at least one dose of a #COVID19 vaccine.
Chandima Ranaweera Arachchi, Director of the National Secretariat for Elders (NSE), told Roar Media, that they are fairly confident that other elder care homes in the country will also receive a vaccine very soon.
“At present, our biggest concern is vaccinating the staff at elders’ homes,” he said. “More often than not, our elders within the homes contract the disease through the staff. It’s a major risk for our staff as well as the people we care for. So vaccinating the staff is a main priority.”
There are 350 registered elders’ homes around the country. The 176 care homes in the Western Province provide shelter for approximately 4,000 elders, which makes up almost half of the elderly population of 8,806 residents at registered care homes across the country.
Ranaweera Arachchi also said that the NSE has received several reports from Kurunegala and Tissamaharama, where elders at care homes had tested positive for COVID-19. The patients, he added, were immediately transferred to necessary care centres to prevent the disease from spreading to others at the facility.
Meanwhile, Sunethra Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Primary Health Care, Epidemic and COVID Disease Control, told Roar Media that a special request has been made to the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health to prioritise the vaccination of elders at care homes. The special request was made after evaluating the risks faced by staff and patients.