A specially converted Ford Transit is set to be used to help the NHS deliver Covid-19 vaccinations to communities across mid and south Essex.
It’s part of an initiative to get the vaccine to vulnerable communities or those who might struggle to access traditional healthcare services. Due to hit the road this month, the converted Transit forms part of a pilot programme which could lead to the number of vehicles increasing in the future.
Created through a partnership between the NHS and Ford, the van is being used to address a lower vaccine uptake in some communities which face access challenges and will be located on the grounds of churches, mosques and other central community venues.
The NHS will liaise with community leaders and groups to fill appointments in order to vaccinate as many people in local communities as possible.
Dr Smitesh Patel, clinical director at Benfleet Primary Care Network, Essex commented: “Our goal of giving everyone an equal opportunity to receive this essential vaccine is now in closer reach, owing to the additional support from our valued network of community leaders, Ford and Venari Group.
“This added mobility has meant the gap will be bridged for so many facing a struggle to visit their local vaccination centre. With this support, we enter an important chapter of our vaccine rollout with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.”
The bespoke vehicle has been specially converted by West Yorkshire-based specialist vehicle builders Venari Group and features medical-grade refrigeration with WIFI connectivity, vaccine transport coolers, a collapsible chair that can be used to help administer the vaccine and an integrated tablet for updating health records.
Mandy Dean, director of Commercial Vehicles at Ford of Britain said: “Over the coming weeks, this Ford Transit will make some incredibly important journeys as a vaccination van. Working with the NHS and community leaders to deliver this brilliant scheme and bolster the exemplary vaccine rollout, has been a privilege.
“Full credit is due to our conversion partners at Venari Group, who continue to work with us to make thousands of life-saving vehicles for the emergency services every year.”