The Government is hoping to restart family visits to care homes before residents are given their second dose of the Covid vaccine

Social care minister Helen Whately suggested that relatives would be able to see their loved ones once enough time has passed to allow for the protection conferred by one dose to take hold.

She told BBC Breakfast: “We do want to be able to enable people to begin visiting again, to hold hands and hug each other. Right now it is too soon – residents have only just been vaccinated, it takes time to build up immunity and we have really high rates of Covid still.”

Asked if that meant visits would not restart before second doses were given out – up to 12 weeks from now – she added: “I am not saying that – we are doing what can we to allow more visiting to start again…. I know how important it is to for physical and mental health.”

The news comes as the Government announced that it had offered the COVID-19 vaccine to residents at every care home with older residents in the nation.

In a statement,the NHS said it had offered a COVID shot to people living at more than 10,000 care homes with older residents while a small remainder have had their visits deferred during a local outbreak.


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