Reducing barriers to access

Location: London

Target Group: Local Population

Initiative type: Outreach

Who we spoke to: Sharon Raymond, GP and Director of Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation

Why is this important to us?

“Many people want to have the vaccine but the practicalities are really difficult. Vaxi Taxi is helping people who have experienced barriers in accessing vaccination for whatever reason – whether it’s rough sleepers, asylum seekers, sex workers, language barriers. The initial groundwork of understanding what the needs of that group are, is really important. Not only is this an opportunity to vaccinate, but it’s an opportunity to signpost vulnerable people to other health services. At our events, people are meeting health care professionals for perhaps the first time in a very long time and they are able to set up follow-up appointments.”

What are we doing?

“The Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation have held nine vaccination events so far with the Vaxi Taxi project in areas of deprivation around London. Each event has been tailored to the specific needs of the local population. We call it a vaccination camp rather than a pop-up; it’s got that Glastonbury feel without the music, so it doesn’t have to be scary! This is a very visible vaccination event, not in a clinical centre to engage people who may not have an NHS number or be registered with a GP. We can send a Vaxi Taxi to that location and patients can get vaccinated in the vehicle or in the pop-up clinic and get taken back to where they are staying. They are accessible for people with disabilities. We provide food and drink to the patients to make it a better experience for those who may be frightened of going into health care settings. There’s also the opportunity to talk through fears and reservations. We have tables set up with information leaflets and offer cardio health checks for patients not registered or regularly attending a GP.”

Who is involved?

“Vaxi Taxi has been set up by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation who collaborated with local clinicians to identify the specific needs of that area. The events rely on volunteers and everyone has a specific role. We have collaborated with Faiths Forum for London to bring confidence to people who have got reservations and want to know more. We have also collaborated with the London Fire Brigade and the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation are planning to train a group of firefighters to vaccinate.”

What works for us?

“Our motto from the beginning has been dream it, do it! Our strategy is to fix a date, make these good ideas into a tangible plan, get the support of colleagues and make it happen. After every event we collect feedback from patients to learn from what went well, what went less well and what can be done in the future. The feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive. As of May 2021, we have vaccinated over 500 people.”

For more examples and key learnings on this theme visit the Strategy Unit website.