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Coronavirus: Vaccination

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL3655, tabled on 2 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that people living in rural areas are able to go to their nearest vaccination centre to receive their COVID-19 booster jab.

Answered on

16 November 2021

The National Health Service, alongside its health and social care partners have developed different delivery models which operate concurrently to provide flexibility in our approach and ensure the entire population has access to the COVID-19 booster vaccines, including for those living in rural areas. This includes delivery through hospital hubs, vaccination centres, Primary Care Network-led sites, and community pharmacy-led sites.

The network of vaccination sites has been designed to fit the expected vaccine supply and ensure safe and easy access for the whole population. Currently 98% of the population in England live within 10 miles of a vaccination site. For those in highly rural areas there is a standard operating model for roving and mobile delivery models to go directly to these communities. For example, in Swindon and Wiltshire local authority the roving model was used in the form of vaccination bus. The bus overcame barriers such as needing to travel long distances to vaccination sites.

A problem solving framework has been issued with best practice and practical guidance for implementing a range of interventions to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations. For example health coaches from the voluntary and charitable sector were used in rural West Yorkshire to support individuals to access vaccination clinics, and in rural Derbyshire Dales local volunteers from mountain rescue teams and community first responders supplement national volunteers to transport elderly and physically disabled patients to vaccination sites.