Rough sleepers in Portsmouth receive Covid booster jabs on Christmas Eve

MORE than a dozen rough sleepers in Portsmouth have receieved extra protection against Covid after attending a Christmas Eve vaccine clinic.

Around 14 homeless people attending a Helping Hands breakfast on Commercial Road took up the offer of either first, second or booster vaccines – with some also getting their flu jabs at the same time.

The session was the first booster clinic to be held specifically for rough sleepers, although fortnightly first and second jab offers started earlier this year.

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Booster jabs are being offered to homeless people at Commercial Road, Portsmouth on Friday 24th December 2021 Pictured: Clinical director of Brunel PCN, Carole Phillips giving a booster jab to a homeless person Picture: Habibur Rahman

Carole Phillips, an advanced nurse practitioner and clinical lead for Brunel Healthcare – which has been distributing the jabs, was there to help administer the potentially life-saving doses.

‘We probably vaccinated about 14 people, which is really good,’ she said.

‘Normally we get about five or six people when we do these.

‘We had a 26-year-old get their booster and a 64-year-old who had their first dose. Even administering just one jab makes it completely worthwhile.

Booster jabs are being offered to homeless people at Commercial Road, Portsmouth on Friday 24th December 2021 Pictured: Social prescribing team manager, Zoe Knight, clinical director of Brunel PCN, Carole Phillips and clinical pharmacy technician, Anthea Hayes Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘We were due to start at 8.30am and arrived at 8am to set up. There were already people there waiting for us because they knew we were coming. I think they were glad people were taking an interest in their health.

‘With the Omicron variant it is more important than ever that people get their Covid boosters.’

She added: ‘We are hoping in the future to set up a inclusive healthcare hub that homeless people will be able to access.’

Zoe Knight, social prescribing team manager at Brunel Healthcare, added: ‘The response has been absolutely amazing, we’ve been really welcomed here in the community today.

Booster jabs are being offered to homeless people at Commercial Road, Portsmouth on Friday 24th December 2021 Pictured: Clinical director of Brunel PCN, Carole Phillips and clinical pharmacy technician, Anthea Hayes giving booster jabs to a homeless person Picture: Habibur Rahman

Our aim is to come back in six to eight weeks to give them their final vaccinations.’

The vaccine clinic was set up in partnership between the Brunel Healthcare PCN, Portsmouth City Council and the You Trust.

It comes as health and care teams are continuing to ramp up services to ensure every adult across Hampshire and Isle of Wight is offered a Covid-19 booster by December 31, with 102,700 jabs delivered across the area in just three days – an average or more than 4,270 an hour.

Booster jabs are being offered to homeless people at Commercial Road, Portsmouth on Friday 24th December 2021 Pictured: Bev Saunders of Helping Hands getting her booster jab by clinical director of Brunel PCN, Carole Phillips and clinical pharmacy technician, Anthea Hayes Picture: Habibur Rahman

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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