Barnet is “doing well” on getting coronavirus jabs to care homes for the elderly and aims to reach three-quarters of them by the end of this week.

That was the message from Dr Tamara Djuretic, director of public health, who said 34 care homes for older residents were expected to complete vaccinations this week.

Her comments came after MP for Chipping Barnet Theresa Villiers revealed she had been told by the chairman of the health overview and scrutiny committee that only 13 care homes out of 85 in Barnet had received vaccinations, which she described as “very concerning”.

But the council’s public health team said 45 of the borough’s care homes are for elderly residents being prioritised for the vaccine rollout. The other homes are for children and other groups that are not part of the vaccine programme.

On Thursday, Dr Djuretic said: “The NHS vaccination programme has already reached 17 care homes accommodating older residents and their staff, with plans for 17 further care homes to complete vaccinations by the end of this week. This would equate to 75 per cent of all the care homes in the borough. Care home staff are also separately accessing vaccinations at Barnet Hospital and Royal Free Hospital.

“Barnet is doing well on this front – especially considering that the borough has one of the highest numbers of care homes in London. We are working with primary care and other partners to support the rollout that is in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommendations as quickly as possible.

“Barnet residents have started being vaccinated in December, as part of North Central London NHS-led vaccination programme that follows vaccination prioritisation recommended by JCVI.”

According to Barnet Council’s update for the week to January 2, there were 79 new Covid-19 cases in care home residents and 133 in staff.

Provisional figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal there were 88 deaths in Barnet care homes caused by Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic to the end of 2020, as notified to the Care Quality Commission.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Thursday that the Government aims to offer every elderly care home resident in the country a coronavirus jab by the end of the month.