People urged to get on board as Leeds launches vaccination minibus

A new 'vaccine minibus' has been launched by health chiefs to help people across the city get on board with the vaccination programme.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 8:57 am

The NHS has teamed up with Leeds City Council and local voluntary and community organisations to launch the new minibus service which yesterday had its first stop on Maud Avenue in Beeston.

It is hoped the minibus will make it easier for people to have the vaccine and, with experts also on hand, also provides the opportunity for anyone with any queries about the jabs to seek advice face-to-face.

People will only be able to have the vaccine if they've received a text message from their GP practice inviting them to the vaccination minibus.

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Pictured at the new vaccine minibus are: Coun Salma Arif, executive member for health and wellbeing at Leeds City Council, Dr Kashif Sarwar, GP and clinical director for Beeston Primary Care Network and Coun Mohammed Iqbal (Lab, Hunslet and Riverside). Picture: Jude Palmer Cllr Arif, Dr Sarwar, Cllr Iqbal

Dr Kashif Sarwar, GP and Clinical Director for Beeston Primary Care Network, said: “We decided to use a mobile service to try to encourage people from the local community to take up their vaccine.

“Hopefully delivering the vaccine in a location that people are familiar with and feel comfortable attending will help encourage more patients to attend. We’re listening to feedback from our local communities and are doing what we can to address some of the issues being raised.

“Having healthcare professionals and people from the local voluntary and community organisations will give local patients an opportunity to come and talk to us, especially if they have particular concerns on the vaccine.

“We know there’s a lot of misinformation on social platforms, but we want patients to come and talk to us, so that they’re getting trusted and reliable information.”

It comes as new figures reveal West Yorkshire is storming through its vaccination programme, delivering over 80,000 vaccines each week - with a peak week so far of almost 115,000 vaccinations between February 8-14.

The county now has ten hospital sites, 44 primary care network sites, 10 community pharmacies and four vaccination centres, according to information published in a report to this Thursday's board meeting of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

The report said as of February 28, West Yorkshire had delivered a total of 717,000 vaccinations.

Latest statistics have revealed Leeds has delivered around 285,000 vaccinations and figures in the report show over 90 per cent of over 70-year-olds in Leeds have now been vaccinated along with over 80 per cent of those classed as 'extremely clinically vulnerable' and those in the 65-69 age bracket.

Progress is currently being made on the age group 60-64 where 51 per cent of those eligible have so far been vaccinated.

The report also states that, with the introduction of the AstraZeneca vaccine, hospital clinicians have been able to prescribe jabs for any eligible inpatient - such as before any cancer treatment when a patient's immune system may potentially be lowered.

This had not been possible when the vaccine programme first started due to issues over the transportation and storage of the Pfizer vaccine.

Sam Prince, executive director of operations for the Leeds Covid Vaccination Programme, said: “It’s important for us to look at how we can make it as easy as possible for people to get their vaccinations. We’re looking at innovative ways on how we can increase the uptake of the vaccine and having the vaccination minibus is one of them.

“We want patients to understand how the vaccine will protect them against the disease and reduce their risk of becoming seriously unwell. So, when you receive the text message from your GP practice inviting you to the mobile vaccination minibus, please take up your invite."

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine visit www.nhs.uk/CovidVaccine

*It comes as the Yorkshire Evening Post continues its A Shot in the Arm campaign focused on the national vaccination programme.

Run alongside sister titles across JPIMedia, it urges Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deploy the country’s network of 11,000 pharmacies to ensure that every citizen is only a short walk away from a vaccination centre.

Our campaign also requests further reassurance for local communities from the Government and more easy-to-access information on the vaccine programme and its progress.

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