A vaccination centre was set up at a homeless shelter in Oldham in the first scheme of its kind in the UK (Picture: PA)
Homeless people are being vaccinated against Covid-19 as part of a pioneering scheme after a council insisted rough sleepers and those living in shelters should be prioritised.
Under the Department of Health’s mass vaccination plan, the over-80s, care home residents and health and social care workers are first in line to receive the jab.
But Oldham Council and local GPs insisted homeless people should be protected among the first cohort of people receiving the vaccine because they, along with the elderly, are most at risk from the virus.
About 30 people in the area have so far been vaccinated after a clinic was set up at Depaul homeless shelter in Oldham, with more planned to receive the jab.
Dr Zahid Chauhan, who is also an Oldham councillor responsible for health and social care, said homeless people are ‘extremely vulnerable’ and their life expectancy is between just 43 and 45 years.
He said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the scheme, as he issued a direct plea to the government to ‘please’ prioritise the homeless as it is ‘the right and human thing to do’.
Kelly Heney, 38, receives an injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the Depaul UK homeless shelter in Oldham, Greater Manchester (Picture: PA)
Lee Ullha , 46, was living in a park after Covid hit (Picture: PA)
Dr Chauhan added: ‘It is setting an example for the rest of the country, rest of the world, and saying, “Please, please don’t ignore these people”.’
‘We can protect them, and if they catch Covid they become ill and if they become ill, that’s where you end up in hospitals, if you are lucky, your hospital beds go, your ICU beds go,’ he continued.
‘So it makes absolute sense from all directions to actually vaccinate these people and I’m still requesting government, please consider again, it is my plea to you, these are extremely vulnerable people’.
Homeless couple Kelly Heney, 38, and Lee Ullha 46, live at the homeless shelter where they were vaccinated with the Oxford AstraZeneca jab.
Mr Ullha said: ‘We got evicted when this Covid thing kicked in, that’s why we were living in the park so we didn’t really watch TV, so we didn’t really know much about it.
NHS staff prepare to administer a Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as they urged the government to put homeless people in the priority group (Picture: PA)
‘It’s scary, especially with the new strain of Covid, I don’t think people take it as serious as it is, you see people walking round without their masks and it’s, they’re all saying, “It’s not a real thing, it’s all make believe.”
‘It’s important to get it done. It’s for your own safety.’
Ms Heney added: ‘For me, I can’t believe it’s just happened. I’m excited and so happy that we have actually just had the Covid injection because it’s a big thing.’
The vaccinations came as the UK today recorded another 1,564 deaths, the highest daily …read more
Source:: Metro News
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