A partnership of local organisations and agencies including City of Wolverhampton Council has been working together to engage with and offer vaccinations to eligible people who were homeless or sleeping rough but may not have been able to easily access the vaccine.
People experiencing homelessness face reduced access to healthcare services. Many from this group are also likely to have health conditions that put them at higher risk of death or serious illness caused by Covid-19.
Last month the council, in partnership with Black Country and West Birmingham Combined Commissioning Group (BCWB CCG), local GPs, support agencies and voluntary sector organisations, held a pop-up vaccination clinic at The Good Shepherd Ministry, led by Dr Kamran Ahmed, local GP and Clinical Director at BCWB CCG.
As a follow-up to a clinic held in February, homeless people and rough sleepers from across the city were joined by their support providers to get their second doses of life saving jab in an environment they were familiar with. Over 150 people, including those experiencing homelessness and their support workers received their first vaccination on the day.
Dr Kamran Ahmed said: “Offering vaccines this way protects some of our city’s most vulnerable residents who are most at risk and ensure fewer people become seriously ill or die.
“By offering the vaccine, along with the right support, in a setting that people are familiar with, we were able to overcome some of the barriers stopping people from having their jab and saw good levels of uptake”.
A range different levels of support were on offer to encourage people to have their vaccine, help them get to clinic and provide advice and reassurance on the day.
These vaccination clinics followed partnership work at The Good Shepherd earlier in the year to raise awareness of coronavirus and the vaccine within the local homeless community and encourage regular testing.
Tom Hayden, Head of Operations at the Good Shepherd, said: “We were really pleased to link up with the council, CCG, and several other charities and agencies whom we already work closely with to host this second day of vaccinations.
“People who are homeless face additional barriers to accessing healthcare, so it was fantastic to be able to welcome them to the Good Shepherd and provide access to the vaccination, advice around Covid, and to do it amongst people they know and in a venue they feel comfortable.
“Service users were able to attend with their support staff who could talk them through the process and the benefits of receiving the vaccination and the added protection it can give them against the virus.”
John Denley, Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health, added: “Outreach clinics like this are helping to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our city.
“The vaccine is proven to reduce serious illness caused by coronavirus by up to 85%, and evidence shows that is reduces transmission too. Whilst infection levels are falling across the city, we still need to make sure that everyone can have the vaccine as soon as it is their turn.
“By holding pop-up clinics in familiar surroundings, providing support and the right information we are making sure some of the city’s most vulnerable residents can access the vaccine and benefit from the protection it provides.”