Mobile COVID-19 jab service gives vulnerable housebound patients the boost they need

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Patient and vaccinator

Beatrice Smith, a patient, gets her COVID-19 vaccination from Sara Hayley, a vaccinator

As COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise, Guy's and St Thomas' vaccination team are going into people’s homes to give the most vulnerable housebound patients the vital protection they need. 

The outreach team help to vaccinate people with social, emotional or physical concerns who find it particularly difficult to visit vaccination centres. These include people with extreme mobility problems and those with mental health issues which make being in busy environments challenging.  

Beatrice Smith, 77, from Peckham, who has several health problems including heart failure, cellulitis and depression, has been housebound for four years due to mobility issues. She has a social care worker who visits to wash and dress her and to provide general care twice a day. Beatrice said: ”I cannot walk on my own, I have to have help. I’m mostly in my armchair all day.

“I had my fourth COVID-19 jab at the end of June and I’ve had no trouble at all. It means I don’t have to shuffle about to get to the vaccination centre somehow. I just had to sit here, pull my arm out and the nurse did it straight away. I didn’t feel a prick at all. It’s wonderful that they came to me, they were brilliant.”

Guy's and St Thomas' work collaboratively with colleagues in the South East London Integrated Care system, including GPs, to identify which patients need additional support to get the vaccine. 

Lily Harrington, a vaccination sister at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “Many people like Beatrice are keen to have the vaccine but they have no way of getting out or find it very difficult, so that’s why it’s really important for us to reach out to them.

"We are trying to reach as many people as possible, while they still have some immunity against COVID-19. It may seem like housebound patients are not that much at risk because they are not going out into the community or going down to the shops, but they still have a lot of people coming in and out of their homes - carers, family and friends. 

"There is still that element of risk for them and many of these patients have a lot of underlying health problems that make them more vulnerable. It's incredibly important for them to get the COVID-19 vaccine so they are protected."

To find out about your eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine visit the COVID-19 vaccination page on the NHS website or call 119, free of charge.

Last updated: August 2022

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