Jewish care home manager gets Covid-19 vaccine as awareness campaign launched

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Jewish care home manager gets Covid-19 vaccine as awareness campaign launched

Mira Stamatova, who runs the Otto Schiff centre in Golders Green gets jab, as charity seeks to 'bust myths' about vaccinations in bid to encourage sign-ups by staff and residents

Jack Mendel is the former Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Conspiracy theories about the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine have been circulating in the community since Dr Doreen Brown, 85, became the first person to receive it earlier this month
Conspiracy theories about the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine have been circulating in the community since Dr Doreen Brown, 85, became the first person to receive it earlier this month

The manager of a care home in Golders Green run by Jewish Care was among the first people to receive the Covid-19 vaccine last night, as the charity launched a campaign to prepare staff and residents to follow suit.

Mira Stamatova, who runs Jewish Care’s Otto Schiff centre, was selected for the Pfizer/BioNTech jab after registering through the NHS. Frontline healthcare workers can apply for the vaccine as a priority. 

She told Jewish News: “This is by far a better alternative than being exposed to the virus, which has the potential to have devastating effects. We will be encouraging everyone who works with us or has a loved one in our care to get the jab.”

Mary Mabunga, a Day Duty Leader at Jewish Care’s Otto Schiff care home, who has worked there for more than two years, also received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccination on Wednesday. She told Jewish News: “Only when I’m healthy can I confidently care for and serve others. The Covid-19 vaccine gives me the confidence to continue the great work of being of service to our vulnerable adults.”

Mary Mabunga getting a jab

The first doses were administered to the elderly this week, with almost 20 million people, including frontline workers and those with underlying health conditions, first in line. It is hoped that up to four million people may receive the jab before the end of the year.

Jewish Care has launched a campaign to educate and “bust myths” about the vaccination process, encouraging staff, residents and tenants to get the jab. The charity will also run a webinar with experts and health professionals to educate about its importance while preparing for the mass roll out.

Chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “We are working as quickly as possible on the practicalities of rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable groups and those who care for them. We will do all we can to ensure the uptake of the vaccine with our staff, volunteers and residents is as high as possible.We hope the wider community and other communal bodies will join us in encouraging the uptake of the vaccine.”

Jewish Care runs a Holocaust Survivors Centre in Hendon, supporting more than 500 survivors and refugees.

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Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “In many cases, survivors  have been alone, but typically they’ve managed through the toughest of circumstances and inspired us all. This vaccine gives us all hope that we can once again be reunited with them and that they can spend their remaining years safely in the company of those they love.”

German-born Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler, 89, will get the vaccine on Friday at the Royal Free Hospital, HET confirmed.

Helen Simmons, chief executive of social care charity Nightingale Hammerson, said her organisation had “collated consent forms for almost all residents for the vaccine”.

However, she warned: “We are hearing daily mixed messages as to whether this vaccine can be transported into care homes or not. This lack of clarity is causing a lot of unnecessary anxiety.” 

A spokesperson for Sage care home in Golders Green said staff “are being invited to book a vaccination appointment” and it will be “writing to residents and their families to ascertain their preferences”. 

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