BSW Partnership takes to road and canal to deliver Covid vaccines

The BSW Partnership has taken to road and canal over the past weeks to ensure hard to reach communities across the local area do not miss out on the opportunity to receive Covid vaccinations.

BSW CCG has worked with GP surgeries, Primary Care Networks, local authorities and local charities to deliver Covid vaccines to boating communities in BSW through a floating clinic on a canal boat. 

At the same time, people living in areas that have seen low uptake in vaccinations are being offered Covid jabs on board a specially adapted bus.

The two projects have ensured that all our communities across BSW can access Covid vaccinations in a convenient and timely way. 

Clinics to reach members of the boating community living across the canals and waterways of BSW have delivered vaccines to almost 300 people, many of who are vulnerable, find it hard to access services and may have been at risk of missing out on the vaccination programme.

Clinics are held on board the narrow boat Litania and see jabs administered by a team including clinicians, public health staff and outreach workers. The Litania is provided and driven by staff from the Canal Ministries organisation.  

Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services at Bath and North East Somerset Council said the clinics were important in terms of offering choice.

“These mobile clinics recognise the additional challenges boaters can face when trying to access health care and are there to ensure everyone who would like a vaccine can easily access a clinic close to where they’re moored. It is really good to see how positively this has been received and how it could work with other areas of health and wellbeing support.”

Cecil Weir Fundraising & PR Director of housing charity Julian House said the project was a fantastic example of how much could be achieved through joined up working.

“This project has been a fantastic success – both in terms of properly understanding the needs of live-aboard boaters and pulling together the complex logistics which were necessary to make the vaccination sessions happen.”

Vaccination clinics are also being held across BSW on board a bus.

It is hoped that by bringing the specially adapted bus, which has been refitted to enable teams to provide the jab in a clean and secure environment, to the heart of a given community, people who would otherwise refrain from having the vaccine will be more inclined to take up the offer.

Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, said: “Although we have had an absolutely phenomenal response to our vaccination programme so far, we know there are some concerned people in our communities who have decided not to take up the offer of the vaccine.

“We would hate for any person to put off getting protected as a result of misinformation, which is why our mobile vaccination clinic not only provides a space in which vaccines can be given close to home, but also a setting in which queries and concerns can be discussed openly and honestly with our teams of healthcare experts”