Darlington homeless community offered Covid vaccine

Homeless people in Darlington have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine by the NHS and Darlington Borough Council.

A clinic, run by the Darlington Primary Care Network, has vaccinated members of the homeless community, including residents at the Tees Valley YMCA supported housing.

Clinical Director, Dr Amanda Riley told ITV Tyne Tees, it is important to reach out to the community as many will not have access to a GP.

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Brandan, 20, lives in supported accommodation through the YMCA. He used to be homeless, but can stay in the temporary housing until he gets back on his feet again.Worried about the jab, he visited the clinic and was vaccinated within a matter of minutes.

He said being able to get an appointment through the YMCA has been another benefit of living in supported housing.

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Harriet also lives in supported accommodation after moving into the area from outside the North East. She gave birth to her first son during the lockdown and told ITV News having the AstraZenica vaccine gives her peace of mind and helps protect others in her community.

During the clinic, the patients were also given food parcels which had been donated by staff at the Nationwide Building Society, The Salvation Army, Darlington Borough Council and the Primary Care Network.

The homeless community are often difficult to reach, so the NHS said inviting people without permanent homes was important in the fight against infection.

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The housing manager at Tees Valley YMCA, Paul White, said there are many outdoor and indoor programmes, including skills, training and education that have been put on hold during the lockdowns.

Residents in the supported housing have been unable to host family and visitors due to the strict Covid restrictions.

He said the vaccination offers the YMCA clients an opportunity to benefit from more holistic support once they have received their second dose and are immune.