A new customised vaccination bus drove into Greenwich on Saturday 13 February, with the aim of offering easy access to the Covid-19 vaccine for residents in the priority groups. The bus is visiting areas of the borough where there has been lower uptake, and targeting communities where evidence shows there is greater hesitancy about receiving the vaccine.
The vaccination bus is a double-decker which has been converted to vaccinate patients in two clinical booths. Patients are taken one at a time on to, and off the bus for their vaccination, keeping everyone socially distanced, with queues being marshalled by trained volunteers. All clinical hygiene standards are followed and the bus is deep cleaned after each vaccination session.
Asha, one of the patients who had her vaccine in the bus, was enthusiastic about having the jab and keen to encourage others to do the same. She said: “I want everybody to get the jab, especially people who are Black or Asian.”
Dr Niraj Patel, local GP and Co-Chair of Greenwich Health Ltd said: ‘Going forward we hopefully can take the vaccination bus to pockets of areas in Greenwich where maybe the uptake is not as high as we would hope it would be.’
Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said:” We were pleased to launch our Covid-19 vaccination bus this weekend and see the Council, the NHS and other partners continuing to work together to tackle Covid-19.
“The bus will enable us to reach areas of the borough where take-up of the vaccine has been lower. It will also make it easier for residents to get their vaccine, especially in this first phase when we’re asking people aged 70 upwards, and other vulnerable groups, to have their vaccination.
“The Council is strongly encouraging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available to you – it’s the best thing you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones and everyone in Royal Greenwich.”
On Saturday, the bus stopped at the University of Greenwich before making its way to Thamesmead on Sunday. The bus will continue to be used over the next few months to reach as many residents as possible.
Prior to each visit from the bus, with support from voluntary and community sector organisations, there is targeted outreach work with local communities to encourage those eligible to book an appointment.
The success of the vaccination bus is the result of a wide range of partners working together to support Greenwich residents: South East London CCG, Greenwich Health (GP Federation), our primary care networks, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Charlton Athletic Community Trust, University of Greenwich, Voluntary Services Greenwich.