Covid: South Tyneside housebound patients given vaccine jab

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image captionLouise Lydon is among the team of pharmacists administering jabs across four weekends

A scheme which will see 1,500 housebound people given coronavirus vaccinations at home has begun on Tyneside.

Twenty-two community pharmacists who have given up their free time will administer jabs across four weekends.

Health chiefs said it gave them an opportunity to reach people without disrupting normal pharmacy services.

Local GP practices have provided lists of patients who are registered as housebound.

Louise Lydon, a pharmacist in Jarrow and secretary of the Gateshead and South Tyneside Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said there had been a "fantastic response".

"I think everyone is really keen to have some sort of normal life again and be able to have people come back into the house.

"It's remarkable we're in a position to do this and a real privilege.

"Pharmacies are very busy during the pandemic, but we can reach hundreds of people in a weekend without affecting our main service."

Patients eligible to receive the vaccine at home will be contacted by telephone three or four days before the visit and pharmacists will arrive wearing NHS identification.

Dr Anji Curry, a GP in South Shields, described it as a "unique approach".

"We're not aware of any other areas delivering the vaccine this way.

"Here in South Tyneside, our community pharmacists are very closely integrated with local practices, so they are well placed to play such a key role and reduce some of the pressure on other parts of our health system."

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