Rollout of Vaccination programme to Homeless

25/03/2021
Homeless Vaccine

We have began to offer Covid-19 vaccinations to some of the most vulnerable in our community – the region’s homeless population.

In total it is estimated that around 270 homeless people across the trust area are set to receive the first dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine within the next two weeks.

Our Homeless Service lead, Paula Devine, who is jointly coordinating the Trust’s efforts to vaccinate people who are homeless, said it is really important that they are protected from the virus.

Commenting on the plans, Ms Devine said:

“Many people who are homeless may suffer from multiple health issues and could therefore be classed as clinically vulnerable.

“Although the North West does not have as visible a problem with homelessness as some other areas, the issue of “unseen” homelessness exists in the area, with people living in hostels, sheltered accommodation and B&Bs, as well as those who sofa surf.”

The targeted programme is a collaborative effort between trusts to ensure no one slips through the net and to ensure all recipients are able to get both doses of the vaccine. This is made more difficult due to the fact that some people may move from one place to another from week-to-week.

“For people who cross over trust boundaries or move around we will make sure we work together to make sure everything is done and closed off safely,” Ms Devine said.

The delivery of vaccines in the Western Trust will be managed using a combination of mobile units and scheduled appointments at the Foyle Arena mass vaccination centre beginning on March 25th.

Vaccines for those who are homeless will also be provided using a “door step” delivery approach.

Vaccination teams will deliver to facilities such as hostels, day shelter facilities, crash facilities, non-standard accommodation facilities, and to those sleeping rough. Anyone who is not living in fixed accommodation will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

The extension of the vaccination roll out comes in the same week the Western Trust passed 83,000 doses across the trust area.

The impressive milestone has been delivered through the coordinated efforts of Western Trust staff working closely with Multi-Agency groups and volunteers from across the Trust area.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is the largest programme of its kind ever undertaken by the NHS with the Western Trust operating three vaccination centres, located at Foyle Arena Derry/Londonderry, Omagh Leisure Centre and Lakeside Leisure Centre, Enniskillen, and also a number of mobile vaccination teams, who have reached out to vaccinate specific groups.

The Trust’s vaccination programme is running in parallel with the vaccine programme run by GPs across Northern Ireland.

Those who  meet the eligibility criteria can book their vaccination by visiting the online booking portal https://covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated or by calling the regional booking line on 030 0200 7813 from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Anyone invited to attend one of the Mass Vaccination Centres is reminded to wear a face covering (unless exempt for medical reasons), adhere to social distancing rules and bring along their booking reference number, ID and, if possible their Health and Care Number (HCN).