Funding boost to vaccinate vulnerable communities
A public health advertisement encouraging people to get a booster vaccination is seen in London. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
BACKED by £22.5 million of government funding, volunteers will reach out to councils with low vaccine uptake and get hard-to-reach communities jabbed.
Community Vaccine Champions from Bradford to Brighton will be tapping into their local networks and encouraging people in their community to come forward and get vaccinated.
The funding will benefit 60 councils and will be part of a national drive for people to get vaccinated in fight against Omicron, a variant of Covid-19.
This initiave will provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people without easy access to digital technology, helplines, and linking to GP surgeries as well.
In Derby and Newham roving vaccinators and a vaccine bus will visit workplaces, places of worship and local highstreets. Moreover in Southampton, videos will be shared on social media featuring local sporting stars, TV actors, local community and faith leaders and local NHS staff.
While in Reading, a community transport will be put in place to support access to vaccination sites/pop-ups (working with existing local community) and considering ‘Grab a Jab’ taxis scheme.
According to NHS statistics, over 4.6 million people aged 18 or older remained unvaccinated in the 60 local authorities selected to take part in the Community Vaccine Champions programme.
Communities minister Kemi Badenoch said: “In England more than 80 per cent of eligible adults over 18 have had a booster and for over 50s it is 90 per cent. This is a great take-up so far, but we need to do more as we know that the unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who are jabbed.
“By funding Community Vaccine Champions – an army of volunteers who are at the heart of their communities – we can reach those yet to be vaccinated and encourage them to protect themselves and the NHS.”
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “Thanks to the pace and scale of our Covid-19 vaccination programme, we are in a much better position than this time last year.
“We are doing everything we can to reach those who haven’t yet come forward for their jabs and we know some people are more likely to listen to those they trust, such as community and religious leaders – that’s why we are giving extra funding to our brilliant Community Champions.
“The offer of a vaccine will always be available, it’s not too late. Please come forward as soon as you can so we can learn to live with this virus.”
More than 14,000 volunteers had joined the first Community Champions scheme in 2021 – helping the vulnerable and isolated across the country throughout the pandemic.