TRANSPORT company Go North East has rolled out a mobile Covid-19 vaccine unit – ‘the vaccination bus’.
Targeting the East and West Ends of Newcastle, where vaccination take-up rate has been disappointing, it is hoped the bus will encourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get the jab, initially visiting those living in hostels, along with the Newcastle Muslim Centre.
A project in partnership with Newcastle GP Services (NGPS) – the GP Federation for Newcastle – Newcastle City Council and community and voluntary sector partners, the bus is fully Covid-secure, including hand sanitisers and a security screen for the driver, as well as regular cleaning with a hospital-grade antibacterial mist.
There is disability access, a socially distanced waiting area and a separate office annexe for staff to complete paperwork.
Dr Brigid Joughin, clinical director of the Outer West Primary Care Network and GP at Throckley Primary Care Centre, is lead clinician for the bus service and said: “From an idea of ours just a few weeks ago, it’s been fantastic to see how quickly we’ve been able to set this up’’.
Part of the reason why the vaccination take-up rate has been so low, is down to mistrust of vaccination in Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups, which have reportedly not often been represented during clinical trials, both before and during Covid-19. People question the vaccine’s credibility if it hasn’t been tested on their communities.
More than 45,000 people have been vaccinated onboard the bus.