A specially-adapted bus is hitting the roads of Devon with the aim of driving up coronavirus vaccination rates among groups and communities where take-up is lower than in the wider population.
The four-week pilot of the mobile vaccination unit is part of a package of measures to increase take-up of the vaccination where modelling suggests it is lower.
In many cases, take-up is lower among groups known to experience ‘health inequalities’, unfair and avoidable differences in health across the population, and between different groups within society.
To make it as effective as possible, the NHS is offering to visit sites ahead of the bus to give people the opportunity to ask questions and address concerns about the benefits of the vaccination. Helpful information is also being provided in various languages.
The mobile vaccination unit is similar to a mobile breast screening clinic in that all standard NHS regulations in relation to infection control will be in met, just like at any other vaccination site.
The bus, which is only offering vaccinations to people in JCVI priority groups 1-9, in line with the national programme, will be taken across the whole of Devon by GPs from Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh (WEB) Primary Care Network.
As the bus is visiting specific communities and places by arrangement, people cannot book an appointment on it unless they have been contacted and invited to do so.
Those who wish to book a vaccination appointment should use the NHS National Booking Service where they can choose from a range of local sites including community pharmacies and large centres in Exeter and Plymouth.
Alternatively, GP practices will contact people about making an appointment at a local GP-led site.