Vulnerable residents from Wolverhampton and the staff who support them have received their Covid-19 vaccinations on the premises of the Good Shepherd in the City Centre.
The Good Shepherd linked up with the City of Wolverhampton Council and the Wolverhampton CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) to host the programme which saw around 150 service users and staff receive their first and second doses of the vaccine.
As well as the Good Shepherd, staff and service users from Wolverhampton Homes, P3 and St George’s Hub also attended as part of the overall vaccination schedule which is aiming to protect local people from the worst effects of the virus.
“We were really pleased to link up with the council and CCG and several other charities and agencies whom we work closely with to host two separate days of vaccinations in February and April,” says Tom Hayden, Head of Operations at the Good Shepherd.
“People who are homeless face additional barriers to accessing healthcare, so we were really pleased to be able to welcome them to the Good Shepherd and provide access to the vaccination, advice around Covid, and do it amongst people they know and in a venue they feel comfortable.
“Service users were able to attend with their support staff who could talk them through the process and the benefits of receiving the vaccination and the added protection it can give them against the virus.
“It ended up being two busy days, but both ran very smoothly, and that was thanks to the fantastic organisation from the council and CCG and excellent teamwork between staff from all of the charities and agencies involved.”
Neil, one of the Good Shepherd’s service users who is part of the Housing First programme, was among those receiving a vaccination.
“I was really happy to be offered the vaccination and the opportunity to have it at the Good Shepherd,” he said.
“I’m feeling well and now I am more confident about my health.”
Paul Burns, Housing First Support Worker for the Good Shepherd, added: “This is helping us to help them change their lives. The turnout at the clinic has been marvellous and I’m glad so many people have received their vaccine today.”
The vaccinations followed a previous link-up with the council which had seen two pilot days of rapid testing carried out at the Good Shepherd as part of the city-wide programme of identifying asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 to prevent further spread.
Saturday’s clinic was superbly organised by local GP Dr Kam Ahmed and his team, with those people who attended for their second dose now set for maximum protection against Covid-19.
Dr Ahmed said: “Homelessness and poor health all too often go hand in hand, which means homeless people are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of this virus.
“Working with charities like Good Shepherd and vaccinating local homeless people is a big step that we can take to protect some of our most vulnerable residents, so the team and I were delighted to have this opportunity to make a difference.”
Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, and local vaccination programme lead, added: “People who are homeless suffer from some of the biggest health inequalities in our society, so we work closely with support charities across the region to ensure homeless people can access essential healthcare services like vaccination.
“This clinic is a great example of how this kind of partnership working can make a big difference.
“We’re clear that nobody is going to get left behind in our drive to vaccinate our most vulnerable and get everyone protected from COVID-19.”
The NHS is continuing to work with local councils, charities and community groups to spread the message about vaccination and ensure resources are in place so that people who don’t always access services – such as the homeless, travelling communities or sex workers – have equal opportunities to get protected.