A MOBILE clinic was just the ticket as people queued for their jab on-board the NHS Covid vaccination bus.
More than 225 people received a mixture of first and second doses as the bus made a stop at the Castle Dene Shopping Centre, Peterlee, County Durham.
Provided by Health Education England, North East, and run by health staff from Easington District Primary Care Network, in partnership with NHS County Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and County Durham Care Partnership, the MELISSA Bus (Mobile Educational Learning, Improving Simulation and Safety Activities), aimed to boost vaccination rates across Peterlee where uptake has proved low.
It also provided improved access for people who may have found it difficult to get to a designated vaccination centre.
Those eligible to receive a jab included people over the age of 40, anyone clinically extremely vulnerable or with an underlying health condition, people with a learning disability, unpaid carers and frontline health and social care workers.
Local supermarket colleagues Sarah Hudson, 48, and Joanne Norman, 49, were among those ‘happy to help’ support the vaccine rollout and took advantage of their break to get a jab.
“We saw the bus advertised and as it was close to work, we thought we’d come along to get a vaccination,” said Sarah.
“Neither of us had been able to book in for our jab yet so it’s really handy to be able to have one so locally.”
Andy Fairless, 42, of Peterlee also queued for his vaccination after his 71-year-old stepfather lost his life to Coronavirus in February.
“It is so important for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves and each other,” said Andy. “My stepfather was fit and healthy and now my mum is a widow at 62.
“I originally had a vaccination appointment booked at The Nightingale Vaccination Centre, Sunderland, but when I saw the bus advertised in Peterlee, I cancelled that one and came along here.”
More than 454,000 people in County Durham have now received a vaccination from sites across the county including 13 local GP led vaccination clinics, three community pharmacies and the Arnison Centre, large vaccination hub.
Kate Huddart, head of medicines optimisation, NHS County Durham CCG, said:” We were extremely pleased that so many people came along to have their jab on the bus.
“We’re now looking at other areas across the county, where uptake of the covid vaccine may need to be encouraged, to determine if additional dates and venues are appropriate to enable as many people as possible to get their vaccination.”
Michael Laing, director of integrated community services, County Durham Care Partnership said: “This is partnership working in action.
“Health partners working together to help offer people easier access to a Covid vaccination.
“This builds on the fantastic work of our GPs, Public Health Team, community pharmacy and our hospital Trust in recent weeks to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people across County Durham.”
Amanda Healy, Durham County Council’s director of public health, added: “The vaccination programme has been very successful, and we are pleased to see that so many of our residents have now received at least their first dose.
“For those who are struggling or unable to access a designated centre, this programme will make it more accessible for people to receive their jab. Encouraging residents to receive their Covid-19 jab will help protect as many people as possible from the virus.”