Driving force Steve wins award for part in vaccination bus

Steve Harvey was awarded the prestigious Suffolk Award by the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy.

Steve Harvey (second right) was awarded the prestigious Suffolk Award by the High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy (right). Pictured here with Louise Hardwick and Stephen Bryce. - Credit: Ipswich Buses

A bus driver who helped drive the distance from Ipswich to Hong Kong as part of the vaccine rollout has been recognised for his service.

Steve Harvey of Ipswich Buses has played a vital role driving the company’s ‘vaccination bus,’ working through his weekends and undergoing extra training to get the vaccine to those who needed it. 

In March of 2021, the company converted one of its fleet into a mobile vaccination unit, at no extra cost to the NHS and converted a second bus in September to drive around Suffolk and north east Essex.

The buses have travelled almost 6,000 miles between them - the equivalent distance from Ipswich to Hong Kong - allowing more than 320,000 people to access the vaccine. 

Steve said: “I feel humbled and delighted. So many of us have been involved in this and I’ve met some fantastic people. I’ve really enjoyed it and the experience will stick with me my whole life.” 

Steve Harvey was awarded the prestigious 'Suffolk Award' by High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy

Steve Harvey was awarded the prestigious 'Suffolk Award' by High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy - Credit: Ipswich Buses

According to Louise Hardwick, who is head of partnerships and alliance delivery at Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups, Steve’s presence has made all the difference.  

She said: “Steve’s friendly persona helped bring our communities together and improve trust and understanding. 

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“The buses gave us the opportunity to speak to our multi-ethnic communities, vulnerable adults and people in rural and deprived areas not just about the COVID-19 vaccine, but also about how they can access other services such as cervical screening and health checks.” 

General manager of Ipswich Buses, Stephen Bryce, added: “Since the first bus went live, I have been contacted by other NHS trusts across the country asking us how we did it. It’s been great to share our experience so people in other parts of the country could benefit.

“The highlight for me was seeing the one millionth vaccine in Suffolk and north east Essex delivered from our bus at Ipswich Mosque.” 

The Suffolk Award was presented to Steve by High Sheriff of Suffolk, Edward Creasy. 

“Steve and Ipswich Buses have been an integral part of making sure that as many people as want it have access to the vaccine,” he said. 

“It’s a fantastic facility which was freely offered and enthusiastically and sympathetically staffed by the drivers involved.  

“It’s as good an example of the community helping out during the Covid crisis as you can find.”