Covid: Preston drive to boost jabs for city's homeless

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There are low rates of Covid-19 vaccination among rough sleepers nationally

People sleeping rough in Preston are to be offered accommodation as part of a drive to increase Covid-19 vaccination rates and get people off the streets.

Preston City Council has been given £115,000 in government funding for the combined shelter and vaccine scheme.

The move will be reminiscent of the national Everyone In initiative which aimed to give everyone a place to stay as the pandemic took hold in 2020.  

It will help "on the frontline where it's needed most", a councillor said.

The latest programme was prompted by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant coupled with low vaccination rates amongst people sleeping rough.

The funding will be used to secure self-contained accommodation and so-called "move on" residential options designed to provide people with more permanent stability.

It will also help fund work with the NHS and other agencies to ensure individuals identified for accommodation get fully vaccinated.

After the authority agreed to accept the funding, councillor Nweeda Khan, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it was the authority's "duty to protect all residents of Preston".

She recognised some people may be "vaccine hesitant" but said the evidence was clear that full vaccination is the most effective barrier from the dangers of Covid.

Part of the funding would help with transportation to vaccination sites "along with awareness-raising and myth-busting sessions", the councillor added.

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