A specially-converted Ford Transit is to be used by the NHS in Essex and community health leaders to boost uptake of the Covid-19 vaccination.
Despite the UK’s successful vaccine rollout, uptake is lower among some communities facing access challenges, such as those experiencing homelessness and ethically diverse communities.
To help address this in Mid and South Essex, a converted Transit will begin to travel across the area from next month, as GP practices work together with local community leaders to administer vaccines in areas of low uptake.
The LCV will act as a hub for dedicated vaccine clinics in the grounds of churches, mosques and other community venues.
The NHS and partners across the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership will liaise with community leaders and groups to fill pre-boked appointments to rally and vaccinate as many people from the local communities as possible.
The Transit has been converted by Venari Group and includes medical grade refrigeration with wi-fi monitoring capability, vaccine transport coolers, a collapsible chair for administering vaccines as well as an integrated tablet for accessing and updating health and vaccination records.
Dr Smitesh Patel, clinical director at Benfleet Primary Care Network, Essex said: “Our goal of giving everyone an equal opportunity to receive this essential vaccine is now in closer reach, owing to the additional support from our valued network of community leaders, Ford and Venari Group.
“This added mobility has meant the gap will be bridged for so many facing a struggle to visit their local vaccination centre.
“With this support, we enter an important chapter of our vaccine rollout with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.”
The Ford and NHS Essex Vaccination Transit will take to the roads from early May.
The programme will run as a pilot initially, with scope to increase the number of vehicles in the future and explore further outreach models in the future.