Ipswich Covid-19 vaccine scheme could be expanded across England

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

A door-to-door vaccine drive trialled in Ipswich is set to be rolled out across the country in a drive to get those from hard-to-reach communities jabbed.

In a bid to stave off further restrictions, the scheme used in Ipswich earlier this winter could be expanded across the whole country as the Government attempted to hold out against introducing new rules in England.

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

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

A national newspaper yesterday reported that No 10 saw reaching those who had not yet had their vaccinations as a key way of keeping the Omicron variant at bay, without further tightening restrictions.

New rules are now in force in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but Boris Johnson has yet to make any announcements about tougher rules here in England.

A month-long campaign was launched at the end of November in Ipswich, focusing on Whitehouse, Westgate and other neighbourhoods which had a low vaccine uptake rate.

Public health teams went door-to-door addressing worries and offering transport to vaccination centres.

A bus also toured the area to offer jabs without appointments.

In Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, community champions have made doorstep calls in areas where vaccination rates are low.

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

A COVID-19 vaccination bus like this one could begin to appear across England. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

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As Omicron began to take hold, and the Government stepped up their vaccination campaign, numbers did increase.

The number of people getting their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine rose by around 46% in the week up to December 21. In total, 221,564 first doses were administered in England that week, while 279,112 second doses were given, a 39% jump, the Department for Health and Social Care said.

The largest increase was seen among young people, with an 85% increase in first doses for those aged 18 to 24 and a 71% increase in first doses for those aged 25 to 30.

It is understood a Covid update meeting is yet to be scheduled as ministers await further data and it is understood school closures are not being considered for January.

A source close to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “The PM and Nadhim are fully committed to keeping schools open and there’s a shared commitment across Government to do so.

“Education is a top priority and school closures are not something being considered.”