A homeless shelter in Oldham has set up a vaccination centre, the first of its kind in the UK (Photo: PA)
The homeless are being vaccinated against Covid-19 under an innovative program, after municipal authorities insisted that the homeless and those living in shelters be given priority.
In accordance with the Ministry of Health’s mass vaccination plan, persons over 80 years of age, persons living in retirement homes and medical and social workers are vaccinated first.
But Oldham City Council and local doctors insisted that the homeless should be protected in the first cohort of people to receive the vaccine because, along with the elderly, they are at greatest risk of contracting the virus.
So far, about 30 people in the area have been vaccinated following the opening of a clinic at the Depaul homeless shelter in Oldham, and more people are planning to get vaccinated.
Dr Zahid Chauhan, who is also a member of Oldham Borough Council with responsibility for health and social care, said the homeless are extremely vulnerable and have a life expectancy of just 43-45 years.
He said he was absolutely delighted with this project because he made a direct appeal to the government to give preference to the homeless because it is the right thing to do and the humane thing to do.
Kelly Heney, 38, receives a Covid 19 vaccine at Depaul UK’s homeless shelter in Oldham, Greater Manchester (Photo: PA).
Lee Ulha, 46, lived in the park after the Covid attack (Photo: PA).
Dr. Chauhan added: He sets an example for the rest of the country, for the whole world, by saying: Please don’t ignore these people.
We can protect them, and if they get covidemic, they get sick, and if they get sick, they end up in hospitals, if they’re lucky, in hospital beds, intensive care beds, he continued.
So it makes perfect sense to vaccinate these people, and I ask the government to reconsider its position, that is what I am asking you, these are extremely vulnerable people.
Homeless couple Kelly Heney, 38, and Lee Ulla, 46, live in a homeless shelter where they were vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s Oxford vaccine.
Mr. Ulha said: We were evicted when the Covid case started, so we lived in the park, we didn’t really watch TV, so we didn’t know much about it.
NHS staff prepare for AstraZeneca’s vaccine launch in Oxford and urge the government to include homeless people as a priority group (Photo: PA)
It’s scary, especially with the new tribe of Covida, I don’t think people take it seriously, you see people walking around without masks and all that, they’re just talking: It’s not real, it’s all made up.
It’s important to do this. It’s for your own safety.
Miss Henie added: To me, it’s unbelievable that this just happened. I’m so excited and happy that we just got a shot of Covid, because it’s a big deal.
The vaccination has taken place as the UK reported 1,564 additional deaths today, the highest daily rate since the start of the pandemic, while more than 100,000 deaths were linked to Covid-19.
The government sees vaccines as a way out of the pandemic and plans to offer the first vaccinations to the four priority groups in mid-February.
Homelessness is not currently one of the government’s priority groups (Photo: PA)
Dr Chauhan urged the government to take note of the Oldham project and implement it across the country: You don’t abandon people because they don’t have the resources and aren’t as privileged as you and I.
You don’t give up, this is not what we British do, these are not our British values. We help people, we bring them together.
Tomorrow it could be any one of us.
Dr Salim Mohammed, a GP who helps with vaccinations in Oldham, said: It’s hard not to notice their reaction and they feel very warm inside because they were so happy and you could see it.
It’s just another day at medical school.
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