We are delighted to confirm that we have started an 8-week mobile vaccination service for Covid-19, to target vulnerable people who are facing homelessness in Brighton and Hove. We are operating an outreach service into emergency accommodation and hostels in the city on Mondays and Tuesdays, and then operating a roving service or basing vaccinations at our Morley Street surgery on Fridays, according to biggest need.
We are partnering with St John Ambulance, and have the ambitious target of vaccinating 1000 people over an eight week period, to ensure maximum coverage and no vaccine wastage. This service is a vital part of the push to bring infection rates down in Brighton and Hove: a large proportion of people who are in insecure accommodation and facing homelessness fall within the priority groups for vaccination:
- A lack of permanent address may mean that a vulnerable person within a priority group is not registered with a GP and thus may have missed a call to get vaccinated when they were eligible (see homelessness charity St Mungo’s recent report which found that 18% of respondents weren’t registered with a GP)
- A lack of home causes extra health challenges: people facing homelessness are much more likely to suffer from serious long term respiratory illnesses which means Covid affects them much more seriously and could lead to extended hospital stays (see St Mungo’s report which found that 1 in 4 of their clients have an underlying health condition which puts them at risk of a severe form of Covid-19)
- The physical frailty of those without a home puts them in an age category of someone much older than their physical age, thus technically putting most people facing homelessness in one of the highest priority groups for vaccination
- Homelessness often involves living in communal / unsafe situations and being exposed to infection, as well as in turn exposing others, due to the lack of self-contained, private spaces to isolate in. If we are able to reach people in these situations, we will have taken great strides towards bringing down infection rates (See St Mungo’s report, which found that 28% of their clients in emergency accommodation were classed as extremely vulnerable to Covid-19)
- Covid has pushed many people to the brink of homelessness, much of which may not be visible as street homelessness. Nevertheless, many people may be living in precarious, exposed situations where it is near impossible to avoid infection
- The quicker we reach the hardest to reach, most exposed people with the vaccine, the less chance the virus has to grow and mutate, and the higher chance the vaccine has to be effective for the long term.
For all these reasons, our mobile vaccination unit will really help to bring infection and Covid death rates down in our city, keeping the NHS and all of us safe, and helping us get back to normal as soon as possible. We are very proud to be able to provide this service in this fabulous city of ours, with its reputation for tolerance, open mindedness, and tradition of embracing those from all walks of life.
Mahatma Ghandi once said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” At Arch we believe this measure is also true of a city – our city – Brighton & Hove.
We will be contacting our patients directly, according to their grouping on the vaccination priority list, when they are eligible for vaccination. We will also be covering a number of sites throughout the city over the next few weeks, and so anyone not registered with Arch will be notified through their key worker if they are eligible for vaccination with our mobile service.