Councils offer support to get people to vaccinations safely

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council and Dorset Council, in partnership with Public Health Dorset, are offering support to help people get to their COVID-19 vaccination appointments safely.

The vaccination programme in Dorset is well underway, with 201,211 doses of the vaccine having already being given.

With COVID-19 infection rates still high across the county, Public Health Dorset is encouraging residents to remain vigilant and avoid putting themselves at risk by sharing a car with people outside of their household or support bubble to get to their vaccination appointment.

Anyone who needs support to get to their vaccination appointment can contact their council’s COVID-19 helpline for advice and information about local public transport, taxi services and community transport. Both Dorset Council and BCP Council are also offering support to those eligible towards the costs of a taxi journey to local vaccination appointments.

To speak to someone about the travel support available, BCP Council residents should contact the community response helpline on 0300 1237052 or complete the online form. Residents in the Dorset Council area should call 01305 221000 or complete the online form.

The transport companies involved in the scheme have been reviewed by Public Health Dorset to ensure they have the necessary COVID-secure measures in place. This includes the use of face coverings and plastic screens as well as enhanced cleaning measures.

For those who are housebound, a roving service is well underway and is being coordinated locally with GPs. Those who require this service will be contacted about when they’ll be visited for their vaccination.

Cllr Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID-19 Resilience and Public Health at BCP Council, said:

“Our colleagues in the NHS are doing a fantastic job of rolling out the vaccine in our local community, and we want to do everything we can to support people to get to their appointments safely. Our team are on-hand to offer help and advice so please get in touch if you’re worried about travel – and remember that COVID-19 remains a very real threat in our community, so don’t take any risks.”

Councillor Laura Miller, Dorset Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said:

“Many residents will be anxious to get to their vaccination appointments but it’s important to get there safely. If you can’t get to your appointment independently and there isn’t someone in your household or support bubble who can help, there are safe options available to you.

“Those living in the Dorset Council area can call our Dorset Together helpline on 01305 221000 or request help online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/coronavirus.”

Dr Karen Kirkham, local Dorset GP, and Clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, said:

“There are currently 20 sites in Dorset that are delivering COVID-19 vaccinations, with clear priority order to ensure that those who need it most get it first. With the announcement of the national booking service we recognise more people may choose to travel to get their jab and I encourage them to do it safely and as soon as you are called as getting the vaccination is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your family. Your local GP-run vaccination services are continuing to roll out the vaccination programme and getting a national booking letter doesn’t mean you have to travel long distances and patients may prefer to wait and be called their local services. Once you have an appointment with any of the sites it is really important that you keep that appointment to avoid cancellation or missed appointments.”

Both councils can only answer questions about travelling to vaccination appointments. Dorset is working to the national guidance on priority groups so residents will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn to book an appointment. More information about the vaccination programme in Dorset can be found on the NHS Dorset CCG website: https://www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/vaccinations/.