Dedicated clinic vaccinates 170 people on World Down's Syndrome day

 Dale, who has Down’s Syndrome, receiving his vaccination from vaccinator Anne on World Down’s Syndrome Day

Dale, who has Down’s Syndrome, receiving his vaccination from vaccinator Anne on World Down’s Syndrome Day - Credit: ESSEX PARTNERSHIP UNIVERSITY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Almost 170 people within the Down's Syndrome community were given their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in a dedicated clinic held at a centre in Ipswich.

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and partners worked with the charity Project 21, to run the clinic at Gainsborough Sports Centre on World Down's Syndrome Day.

The adult patients were invited to the clinic after receiving their first dose of the vaccine in January, as they are part of a priority risk group.

They were greeted with balloons and music and given a small gift in celebration of World Down’s Syndrome Day, which aims to raise public awareness and advocate for the wellbeing of people with Down’s Syndrome. 

Alex Munn, the founder of Project 21, said: “Many people with Down’s Syndrome have additional complex medical issues, and as a result classify as clinically extremely vulnerable.

"Many struggle to deal with new medical situations, so we knew the vaccination programme was going to be a challenge for our community. 

“Receiving their second dose of the vaccine will mean that, for the first time in a long time, our members can start to feel optimistic about the future again.

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"It is really fitting that this is happening on World Down’s Syndrome Day, a very special and celebrated day in our community."

 Among those vaccinating at the Gainsborough centre today was Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May.

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England drawing up the vaccine at Gainsborough Sports Centre vaccination centre, Ipswich

Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England drawing up the vaccine at Gainsborough Sports Centre vaccination centre, Ipswich on World Down’s Syndrome Day - Credit: ESSEX PARTNERSHIP UNIVERSITY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Justin Tomlinson, the minister for disabled people, health and work, sent a video message to the clinic saying it was a "fantastic example" of how groups could work together to help boost uptake of the vaccine for disabled people.

Paul Scott, chief executive of Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a provider of learning disability services, we are proud to be supporting World Down’s Syndrome Day. 

“I am delighted that some of our most clinically vulnerable patients will receive second dose protection on a day of such celebration.”

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust ran the clinic at Gainsborough Sports Centre on World Down's Syndrome Day.

(L-R): Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, Pam Sabine – Operational Director of Coronavirus Vaccine Programme (EPUT), Emma Cole (Project 21), Nigel Leonard, Executive Director of Strategy and Transformation (EPUT), Alex Munn, ( Project 21), Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England outside the vaccination centre at Gainsborough Sports Centre , Ipswich on World Down’s Syndrome Day - Credit: ESSEX PARTNERSHIP UNIVERSITY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said:  “Working with Project 21 has been incredibly positive as together we addressed the challenges of administering the Covid-19 vaccine to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“It was important to make this as good an experience as possible and alleviate any anxiety for those living with Down’s Syndrome.”

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