The vaccine roll-out throughout East Riding of Yorkshire has been very successful with 90% of people receiving their first and 84% their second. This is due, not only to the number of vaccination clinics throughout the large geographical area, but also the health and wellbeing bus that is touring East Riding of Yorkshire, offering the lowest-vaccinated areas in the region easier access to COVID-19 vaccine.
The bus, kindly donated converted, customised and branded by East Yorkshire Buses has so far carried out over 60 site visits at places where it hasn’t been possible to have a dedicated vaccination clinic.
Prior to each visit from the bus, with support from voluntary and community sector organisations, there is targeted outreach work with local communities to encourage those eligible to book an appointment.
People visiting the bus can just turn up, with no need for an appointment. To date it has been a huge success with nearly 2000 vaccinations administered.
Dr Anne Jeffreys, local GP and East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group Chair said: “We are extremely pleased with the health and wellbeing bus, it’s been a real hit in allowing us to reach areas of the region where take-up of the vaccine has been lower. It’s much easier for local people to get their vaccine in a more convenient location, near to where they live or work.
“Due to the popularity of the bus, we now provide dedicated sessions at large workplaces encouraging staff to come along to be vaccinated in their break time. Since the introduction of 16-year-olds we’re also locating the bus in large popular recreational areas throughout the holiday season.”
The success of the health and wellbeing bus is the result of a wide range of partners working together to support East Riding residents: City HealthCare Partnership (CHCP) administering the vaccinations, East Riding of Yorkshire Council who provided funding for the programme; HEY SMILE whose volunteers have given many hundreds of hours supporting staff and residents and East Yorkshire Buses for their donation of the bus.
Speaking about the health and wellbeing bus, Ben Gilligan, Area Director of East Yorkshire Buses, said: “During the dark days of 2020, the launch of the vaccine was a light at the end of the tunnel, so we wanted to do everything we could to help make the roll out a success. Doctors, nurses and medical support staff around our region have done such an amazing job, and we’re delighted that the Health and Wellbeing bus can play its part in getting them out into the community to give out jabs and beat this terrible virus.”
Sarah Herd, general manager at CHCP, said, “We are very grateful to the colleagues and volunteers who gave their time to make vaccinations on the health and wellbeing bus so successful. Many people worked extra hours to make sure the bus had enough vaccinators, as we are also running the vaccination centre in Hull City Hall, so it’s thanks to the dedication and commitment of everyone involved that we were able to reach and protect people who might not otherwise have been able to get vaccinated.”
Zoe Stevens, Public Health Nurse Consultant, East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “The health and wellbeing bus continues to be an exciting and successful collaboration with our partners: East Riding CCG, CHCP and East Yorkshire Buses. The bus has enabled us to address areas of health inequalities by taking the vaccine to our communities which otherwise may have experienced difficulties accessing vaccination sites.”
The health and wellbeing bus will continue to target areas with the lowest uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations, offering both 1st and 2nd doses of the Pfizer vaccine until the end of September 2021. Anyone who hasn’t yet had their vaccination can still visit the bus and get the life-saving jab. For information on when and where the bus will be visiting, go to www.health-bus.co.uk.