An NHS vaccine bus is taking to the road again to encourage even more people to have their COVID-19 jab.
The bus, which has been touring the region over the past few weeks, will be making a stop in Stockton-on-Tees in a bid to help boost vaccination rates across Tees Valley.
Run by health staff from Hartlepool and Stockton Health GP Federation, the mobile clinic aims to boost vaccination rates in areas where uptake has proved low and provide improved access for people who may find it difficult to get to a designated vaccination centre.
The bus, which has a capacity to provide around 250 vaccinations a day, will stop at:
- Parliament Street Carpark (opposite Halfords), Stockton, on 16, 17 & 18 June from 10am to 6pm.
Those eligible to receive a jab will include people who are within the current eligible age cohorts, currently age 25 and over, carers, health & social care frontline staff and people over the age of 16 years who are clinically vulnerable, or have a learning disability, and who have not yet had their first jab.
No appointment is needed and no formal identification required.
An on-board team of immunisers, support staff and nurses from NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Stockton Borough Council’s Public Health Team and Hartlepool and Stockton Health, will be on hand to answer questions or address any issues of vaccine hesitancy.
Rapid covid tests, lateral flow devices, will also be offered on site by the council’s community testing team, for people to take home.
Dr Janet Walker, medical director, NHS Tees Valley CCG, said: “We want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people across the whole of Tees Valley to get their jab.
“The bus has been providing us with a great way to take Covid-19 vaccinations out into our communities to administer the jab safely and efficiently to eligible people who haven’t been able to visit one of our local vaccination sites yet.”
Vicky Holt, director of nursing, Hartlepool and Stockton Health said: “We would urge everyone who is currently eligible for a vaccination to please come along to the bus.
“No appointment is needed, even if you aren’t registered with a GP at the moment, and if you have any concerns or questions our friendly and experienced nurses and doctors are more than happy to talk them through with you.
“The more of us who are vaccinated, the safer we will all be.”
Tees Valley has already delivered over 694,490 jabs from vaccination hubs including 13 local GP led vaccination sites, five community pharmacies, the NHS MELISSA Vaccination Bus, pop up clinics and the Darlington Arena and Riverside Stadium large vaccination centres.
Sarah Bowman-Abouna, director of Public Health, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “I’d urge anyone eligible to get themselves down to the bus at a time that suits them and get the vaccine to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community from serious illness caused by coronavirus.
“This is crucial in getting us all back to some normality in the safest way. There will be people on hand to answer your questions about the vaccine, should you have any.
“So, keep your diary free for some point between 10am and 6pm on June 16, 17 or 18 if you’re eligible and still not had your first dose – and of course, it’s important to remember to also get your second dose of the vaccine when you’re offered it to ensure you have the best possible protection from Covid-19.”
The MELISSA bus (Mobile Educational Learning, Improving Simulation and Safety Activities), which will be used as a mobile clinic to administer the vaccinations, has been provided by Health Education England, North East.
MELISSA team manager, Stephen Cooper, added: ” The MELISSA bus is a fully refurbished double decker which is used to deliver education and training to staff and the public in our more rural or hard to reach communities.
“We are delighted to be able to join NHS Tees Valley CCG, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Hartlepool and Stockton Health in their current COVID-19 public awareness and vaccination campaign.”