Hundreds more vaccinated at new drop-in centres in Doncaster today
Hundreds more Doncaster residents received the coronavirus jab – as health bosses rolled out new drop-in centres in religious settings.
Over 100,000 residents have had the jab, but in a move aimed at making it easier for people to access the vaccine in the community, health workers moved into the Doncaster Jamia Masjid Sultania and Pakistan Cultural Centre, on Thoresby Avenue for the day (Friday March 19).
The move saw people from all sections of the community take up the offer, with around 100 jabs carried out in the first two hours alone.
A second similar drop-in clinic takes place at the Sikh Gurdwara (temple) at Hyde Park on Sunday (March 21)
Residents eagerly took up the opportunity to turn up and get the Astra Zeneca jab.
Kay Saunders, aged 57 who works in a factory, made the journey from Scawthorpe after hearing about the jabs through her partner, a taxi driver.
She said she had been waiting to hear from her GP.
She said: “When he told me there was a walk-in centre at Belle Vue I decided to go. It has been easy, and very efficient and friendly and well organised.
"All I had to do was fill in a sheet when I came in, and go straight in. The nurse went through everything with me.
"I feel fine after the injection. I’d been waiting for my letter, and got that nearly two weeks ago. I’d been waiting for the doctor to get in touch for something more local, when I heard about this.
"I can’t wait for my second jab – I want to go on holiday again.”
Security worker Nar Kumari Budha said she lived just a few doors away from the mosque, and was pleased to have had the jab, administered by Kayle Nazmek, the nurse manager at St Vincent’s Medical Centre on Thorne Road.
Nar said: “It’s only a two minute walk from my home, and one of my friends told me they were doing jabs here. It’s so important to have the vaccine – I’m tired of the pandemic and want life to be back to normal again.”
Abid Munaz, a public health officer from Warmsworth, said he had been offered an injection in Derbyshire, but it made more sense to have it in Doncaster.
He said: “I wanted to get it done because the numbers of people from ethnic minority backgrounds who have been affected. It was straight forward, in and out. It just took a few minutes between parking up and sitting in a waiting room. I think it’s vital that people get vaccinated when they can.”
Taxi driver Amjid Rashid, walked to the venue from his home in nearby Hyde Park.
"It needs to be done so we can get some normality back,” he said.
Doncaster nurse Abde Ali was working at the centre as a volunteer on her day off. She was making sure parents who had received the jab were all right as they waited for 10 minutes in a side room, to make sure they had no side effects.
She said: “We’ve had a steady influx this morning. I’ve previously given vaccines through my work, but that was for NHS staff at Tickhill Road. I think it’s essential.”
Among those helping out was Majid Khan, who represents Bessacarr on Doncaster Council.
He said: “We opened at 9am but there were people queuing up before we opened.”
He said the mosque was at the heart of the community, easy to get to, to help reach out to harder to reach groups. He said a lot of elderly people were reluctant to travel further afield, and stressed the centre was for the use of all parts of the community.
Deputy mayor Glyn Jones added: “We are targeting all communities, and people from all communities have been made welcome here today, and it will be the same at the Gurdwara on Sunday.”
The clinics are open to anyone over 55, carers, and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable.
Public health officials say the scheme is part of a commitment to reducing health inequalities among community groups with local faith leaders encouraging people to come forward for their first jab.
Anthony Fitzgerald, director of strategy and delivery at NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We have worked hard to arrange for pop-up vaccination sites to be set up across Doncaster in a bid to ensure as many people as possible get immunised against Coronavirus. The uptake across the borough has been fantastic with us having vaccinated over 110,000 people already, but we know there are some groups of the community who haven’t yet come forward. We are doing everything we can to be proactive and take the vaccines out in to the community to break down any logistical barriers people are facing to access a jab. The way out of lockdown is for us all to be protected against the virus so it’s vital everyone has the opportunity to come forward.”
The sites, at faith-based community settings are part of an effort to reach seldom heard groups who may face language or access barriers when engaging with health and care services.
Last month, a vaccination team worked in conjunction with the Complex Lives team to vaccinate Doncaster’s homeless population with more plans to target specific groups of people in the weeks to come.
Mr Fitzgerald said: “We are working up plans to host special vaccination clinics for people with severe mental health issues, learning disabilities and working with partners to ensure our deaf community take up the offer of a vaccine. This is the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the rollout, and especially thank members of our Doncaster community who have come forward and had their jabs already.”