Protecting homeless people and rough sleepers from Covid-19

Homeless people and rough sleepers in Nottingham City have been supported to have the Covid-19 vaccination.

A series of special clinics were set up at vaccination centres and GP surgeries after homelessness was identified as a priority cohort for the vaccine.

Nottingham City Council and NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) worked with Nacro, Emmanuel House, the YMCA, JUNO Women’s Aid and Central Women’s Aid to support people to have the vaccine.

In particular, Framework supported with more than 120 people to be vaccinated at a special clinic at The Forest Recreation Ground vaccination centre.

Special measures put in place for all of the clinics included:

  • Extra staffing with people who are used to working with those experiencing homelessness to support them with attending/putting at ease
  • Working with individuals prior to having the vaccine to ensure they had the correct information to make an informed decision.

So far more than 370 people identified as homeless in Nottingham have been vaccinated at clinics run at The Forest Recreation Ground, Windmill Practice and Nottingham City GP Alliance practice in Upper Parliament Street. Further clinics are being held in coming weeks, which will also include second doses of the vaccine to give better protection from the virus.

Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health in Nottingham, said:

“I’m pleased that we have been able to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to homeless people in Nottingham.

“As soon as the Government added homelessness to the priority cohorts, we were able work as a partnership in the city to look at how best we could support rough sleepers and homeless people to receive the vaccine.

“We knew that this group is more likely to have more contact with other people and move into different, shared accommodation at different times, so it was vital that we took steps to protect them from this virus.”

Dr Husein Mawji, Deputy Clinical Lead for the Nottingham City Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) and GP at the Victoria and Mapperley Practice, said:

“The collaborative work that has gone into vaccinating vulnerable communities in Nottingham has been extremely positive. It is very important that we have been able to offer the Covid-19 vaccine to our homeless population and rough sleepers who often have multiple underlying health conditions which would make them very susceptible to the effects of Covid-19. I would like to thank all those involved for their continued hard work in vaccinating this community.”

Framework Chief Executive Andrew Redfern said:

“Many of those supported by Framework and similar organisations are living in circumstances that make Covid-19 transmission more likely. In addition, they may have several underlying health conditions, putting them at high risk of life-threatening complications from the disease. So the decision to make special arrangements for the vaccination of homeless people and rough sleepers was a very good one.   

“We would like to congratulate everyone involved in this effort – the city council, Public Health and the local NHS, together with our colleagues in the voluntary sector. Its success owes much to partnership working and the outcome sets a fine example for other parts of the country.

“I would also like to acknowledge the role of Framework staff who, as ever, have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that hundreds of very vulnerable people were in the right place at the right time, to receive their jab.”

A service user at Framework’s London Road service said:

“I felt a bit nervous due to hearsay from social media and other residents however I knew I was going to go ahead for my safety and protection. I’m scared of getting Covid and my health is important to me.

“After getting the vaccination I felt really sick and faint for the rest of that day and my arm hurt for a couple of days after but now I feel absolutely fine.

“If anyone asked me whether or not to get the jab I’d say, if you want to keep your health, do it’.”

For information on the City Council’s response to Covid-19, visit: https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19

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