United Kingdom

Navy veteran blames slow rollout at care homes for death of his wife who caught virus day before jab

A Royal Navy veteran has blamed vaccine delays for his wife's death after she caught Covid in her care home while waiting for the jab.

Margaret Williams, 87, died three days after testing positive for the virus. Her Hampshire home did not receive the vaccine until the day after she fell ill.

Her husband Michael is angry that he was vaccinated on January 9 while his wife of 64 years was left unprotected.

Margaret Williams, 87, died three days after testing positive for the virus. Her Hampshire home did not receive the vaccine until the day after she fell ill

He spoke out as the NHS failed to meet its target to give all care homes jabs by last night, with the Department of Health admitting that a third of residents have yet to receive them.

Covid outbreaks in care homes have risen 150 per cent in four weeks, according to Public Health England.

Deaths in homes almost doubled over a fortnight – with at least 1,260 in the week ending January 15. Campaigners last night called the missed target 'unacceptable'.

The couple on their wedding day. Her husband Michael is angry that he was vaccinated on January 9 while his wife of 64 years was left unprotected

One care home boss still waiting for jabs said they had been 'abandoned' by GPs who are refusing to vaccinate residents due to Covid outbreaks.

Residents and care staff were deemed the first priority group by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – and jabs started in December.

Former lieutenant commander Mr Williams said: 'They didn't do what they said they were going to do and people like Margaret are dead because of it.

'I never got a chance to say goodbye, it's terrible.'

Mr Williams, also 87, nursed his wife, who suffered with Alzheimer's, at home for five years.

In July he moved her into Kiln Lodge, Fareham, as he could no longer look after her alone.

Mrs Williams had been booked in for the jab on 16 January – the day after she was diagnosed. She died on January 18.

Mr Williams said: 'It's sad I had the vaccination on January 9. If she had still been at home with me, she would have come with me and she would be alive. I could choose who came through the front door.

'If you're a resident of a care home you can't. These were the people who needed the vaccine. If they'd had them when they were promised they would have saved a hell of a lot of lives.'

Home manager Luci Hammett said Mrs Williams was one of two residents who died. Several others are still fighting the virus.

She said: 'We went almost a whole year without an outbreak. I do blame the Government, they shouldn't have given us false hope that we would get the vaccine in December.' 

One Wolverhampton care home where eight out of 24 residents tested positive at the end of last month said GPs now 'won't come in for love nor money'.

One staff member, who did not want to be named, said: 'Residents are asking, 'When are we going to get the vaccine?' I feel let down for them, you do feel abandoned.'

Jayne Connery, director of Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, said: 'It's unacceptable that the NHS has not met its target. People are dying behind the scenes.

'Relatives of loved ones killed by the virus while waiting for protection are rightfully angry.'

Last night a Department of Health spokesman said: 'We have been doing everything we can to protect care homes and have placed residents and staff in the highest priority group for vaccinations.

'By the end of the month, we aim to have offered every elderly care home resident a vaccine.'

The NHS said it is 'on track to meet the Government's goal'.

Mr Williams, also 87, nursed his wife, who suffered with Alzheimer's, at home for five years. In July he moved her into Kiln Lodge, Fareham, above, as he could no longer look after her alone

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