More than 80 rough sleepers in Portsmouth receive Covid vaccine

MORE than 80 rough sleepers in Portsmouth have received their first dose of the Covid vaccine.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 12:40 pm

As part of an outreach programme to protect some of the city's most vulnerable, 83 people living on the streets and in homeless hostels were given jabs distributed by a Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) vehicle.

The scheme, run by the city council, the HFRS and the Brunel Primary Care Network, was delivered to those at the highest risk who are likely to miss an invitation for their vaccine due to lack of postal address or not being registered with a GP.

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Portsmouth rough sleepers receive COVID-19 vaccination

Councillor Matthew Winnington, the council's health and wellbeing boss, said; 'It's important that all of our residents are enabled to live healthy lives. We know that the Covid-19 vaccination is our way out of the pandemic and we want to make sure that everyone, regardless of their living situation, has the opportunity to access it.

'This is a great example of partnership working for the benefit of the city and I'd like to thank everyone involved.'

The community safety contact point vehicle visited Hope House hostel, the North End high street and Commercial Road during times when charity Helping Hands were providing meals for rough sleepers.

Not all rough sleepers in the city have been vaccinated yet and some declined to have the vaccination.

When the team returns to deliver the second doses they will try to talk to those who were missed previously.

Claire Haque, a manager at homeless charity Two Saints, said: 'Some of our residents have been anxious about Covid.

'Many are reluctant to visit health care settings though for fear of being judged so it's fantastic that they were able to get vaccinated in a place that they're more comfortable.'

And HFRS watch manager, Simon Bates, added: 'We were pleased to be able to get involved in this scheme to help some of the most vulnerable members of the community. The response from those getting vaccinated was great to see and really rewarding.'

In the early days of the pandemic around 200 homeless people were housed in city hotels. They have since moved into a variety of more permanent accommodation.

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