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Coronavirus programme to support Redbridge rough sleepers goes live

Redbridge Council will offer coronavirus tests and vaccinations to the homeless (credit: Gary Knight)

A coronavirus test and vaccination programme to support rough sleepers in Redbridge goes live today.

The new service in the borough is one of the first in the country to offer lateral flow testing and vaccinations to this vulnerable group.

Redbridge Council’s public health team is working with the Westminster Drug Project to provide access to tests at Ryedale Care Centre in Ilford while Ilford Town Hall, Hawkey Hall and Fulwell Medical Centre will also be used for spare vaccination slots.

Rough sleepers will be supported by an outreach worker to make the process smoother and to maximise engagement with the programme.

Redbridge Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Mark Santos, said: “Vaccination is not a silver bullet, but it is a very positive and significant part of a programme of measures to tackle this virus.

“Alongside testing and everyone taking responsibility for following the guidelines, it offers us a real hope of tackling Covid-19 so that we can return to a more normal way of life.

“I am proud that we are able to take a truly inclusive approach to protecting our residents as we continue this.”

The move to provide the coronavirus test and vaccination programme to rough sleepers follows increasing concern about the continuing rise in Covid-19 infections across Redbridge.

Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, said: “Councillor [Mark] Santos and our Public Health team have been working hard for months to develop a test and vaccination programme specifically for local rough sleepers – protecting those most in need during this difficult time.

“Thanks to this incredible work, Redbridge will, this week, become one of the first councils in the country to roll out a targeted test and vaccination programme for local rough sleepers.”

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