UK Oldham first town in UK to begin vaccinating homeless against Covid-19 last minute news
MetiNews.Com - “It is setting an example for the rest of the country," a doctor said
Breaking News ! Oldham has become the first town in the UK to launch a scheme aimed at protecting rough sleepers and those living in shelters from coronavirus. The Depaul UK homeless shelter became a vaccination clinic yesterday (13 January), with around 30 people being given the jab. More injections are planned in the coming days. It comes as Oldham Council and local GPs have decided that the homeless should be designated as a priority group to get the Covid-19 vaccines that have begun their rollout across the UK. Dr Zahid Chauhan, who is also an Oldham councillor with responsibility for health and social care, said homeless people should be on the priority list because of their heightened risk from the virus. Sign up to the free MEN email newsletter Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here “It is setting an example for the rest of the country, the rest of the world, and saying, ‘Please, please don’t ignore these people’,” he explained. “These are the most extremely vulnerable people, the life expectancy is 43, 45, there is a reason why their life expectancy is so low. “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. Lee Ullha receives an injection of a Covid-19 vaccine at the Depaul UK homeless shelter in Oldham (Image: PA) “So it makes absolute sense from all directions to actually vaccinate these people and I’m still requesting the Government, please consider again, it is my plea to you, these are extremely vulnerable people. Please put them in a priority group. “That’s the right thing to do. That’s the human thing to do.” The government had called for local councils to ‘redouble their efforts’ to safely accommodate people living rough during the coronavirus lockdown. Local authorities across the country were asked to reach out again to those who have previously refused help, as infection rates soar over the cold winter months. NHS staff prepare to administer a Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at the homeless shelter (Image: PA) Couple Kelly Heney, 38, and Lee Ullha 46, live at the 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.
“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.” Dr Salim Mohammed, an Oldham GP helping with the vaccinations, added that the patients’ reaction to getting the jab made him proud to work in his field.
Kelly Heney receives an injection of a Covid-19 vaccine
“It’s hard not to see their reaction and feel very warm inside because they were so happy and you could see it,” he said. “It’s just another day in medicine.” Watch the video of the first doses being delivered to the homeless in Oldham above. Official figures on the coronavirus dashboard show more than 36,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus, including almost 3,500 on ventilation. The vaccine has been widely seen as a way out of infections and deaths caused by the virus, with those most likely to require hospital treatment being put at the front of the queue for immunisation. Dr Zahid Chauhan said the listing of the homeless as a priority group shows that they aren’t being left behind. “You don’t give up on people because they don’t have resources and they have not been privileged like me and you,” he said. “You don’t give up, that’s not what we do as British, these are not our British values. We help people, we pull them together. “It could be any one of us tomorrow.”