Praise as door-to-door Covid drive opens access to first time jab patients

Saeed Mehdi and Jasmin Saggers were able to get their first jab in Ipswich on Saturday.

Saeed Mehdi and Jasmin Saggers were able to get their first jab in Ipswich on Saturday. - Credit: Danielle Booden/Archant

Ipswich residents taking up their first, second and booster jabs have urged others to do the same after attending the first clinic in a major door-to-door vaccination drive.

Weekend vaccination teams started at Barrack Corner and Burlington Road in Westgate ward on Saturday, in the first of three weekends to get people to appointments. 

A COVID-19 vaccination bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden

A COVID-19 vaccination bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Teams have been out door knocking to address concerns, answer questions and offer transport to vaccine centres.

Ipswich had the highest rates of the virus in England in mid-October, peaking at 854.5 cases per 100,000 but in the week ending November 17 had fallen to 332.4 cases per 100,000. 

At the end of October, Suffolk was made an Enhanced Response Area and able to access government funding and resources to tackle high coronavirus rates.

Saeed Mehdi getting a COVID jab from a COVIDF-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture:

Saeed Mehdi getting a COVID jab from a COVIDF-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Saeed Mehdi, 17, was among those to get their first vaccine and said he wanted to protect others. 

He said: "It's good to save other people.

"I am young and I hope it would not affect me if I got it. But if I got it I could transfer it to an older person and it would be very difficult for them.

"They should get the jab, with the vaccine it's the way to finish Covid."

Jasmin Saggers getting a COVID jab from a COVIDF-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Pictur

Jasmin Saggers getting a COVID jab from a COVID-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Jasmin Saggers, from Whitehouse, was in town with her four-month old son Reggie and took up having her first jab after speaking to volunteers.

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The 23-year-old said: "It was simple, very simple, everything was quick and it was a relaxed environment, it wasn't clinical. Everyone was very friendly and chatty.

"I was invited when I was pregnant and there wasn't a lot of research then, I was a bit scared of that so I have been waiting.

"I didn't have time to make really long phone calls especially with a baby to book a jab. I was just walking past. 

"I think we should get it [the jab]. If I was to catch Covid, I wouldn't be able to look after him. I'm doing it for Reggie. It is a little bit easier than trying to get to Copdock, I do not drive, and I was passing by and I was right here the staff were explaining to me."

Claudina Alexandre getting a COVID jab from a COVIDF-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Pi

Claudina Alexandre getting a COVID jab from a COVID-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Claudina Alexandre received her booster jab on Saturday morning and posted in a WhatsApp group telling others they could go and get theirs.

The carer added she felt the environment would help if people were nervous to go to a clinical setting as well as the easy nature of walking in, with many people not taking up their jab because they had no time.

She said: "I wanted to get it, I work in care, I need mine. I've put it in my care Whatsapp group, so if someone else wants to they can."

Public health leaders plan to target homes in Gipping, Chantry, Maidenhall and Stoke as part of the drive also.

Pritesh and Mitul Patel who were administering COVID and flu vaccines at a COVID-19 vaccine bus on B

Pritesh and Mitul Patel who were administering COVID and flu vaccines at a COVID-19 vaccine bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

On the bus were Mitul Patel and Pritesh Patel who were administering doses of Moderna and Pfizer as well as flu vaccines to those who dropped into the session.

The pair run a group of pharmacies and have been offering vaccination clinics in Hawthorne Drive, and Claydon, as well as Lowestoft, Norwich and Ipswich.

On Thursday, Pritesh Patel oversaw a record-breaking vaccination session in Haverhill with 580 Covid vaccines and 55 flu jabs administered during the session. 

Mitul Patel said: "There are 10,000 to 12,000 vaccines per week. We need to say a huge thank-you to the staff at all of the pharmacies, the volunteers and vaccine staff, without them it would not be possible.

"Some of them have been working for 18 months without a break, at six to seven days a week, to vaccinate as many people as possible."

A COVID-19 vaccination bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden

A COVID-19 vaccination bus on Barrack Corner in Ipswich. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

The site manager for the Suffolk County Council's community engagement team added: "It is important that people have the Covid vaccine when it is offered as we know it offers the best protection against the virus.

"For those who may be hesitant or worried, and this may be for many reasons, we are making it as easy as possible to have the jab."

Additional volunteers on the day were from the Red Cross and Norfolk and Suffolk 4x4 Response. 

4x4 volunteers were on standby to assist in bringing in people who may have not been able to access their jab due to transport access issues.

To find out about upcoming vaccination clinics visit https://sneevaccine.org.uk/ 

The EADT and Ipswich Star have launched a campaign to encourage people to 'Grab The Jab' to help support the NHS and the local community throughout the winter.

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