Covid-19 vaccinations have been rolled out to rough sleepers in Stafford.
Suzanne Rigby, the lady dubbed the ‘Angel of Stafford’ by the street homeless, and colleague Danny Finch began a programme to get rough sleepers, and other vulnerable residents, vaccinated this week.
The mobile vaccination programme is a collaboration between Stafford Borough Council, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and the town’s Bailey and Fairfield Guest Houses - which provides emergency homeless accommodation.
Statistically people sleeping rough are more likely to have underlying health conditions which puts them at higher risk of serious disease and death.
Suzanne was given the ‘Angel’ moniker for her work helping people to get off the streets - which attracted national attention and was featured across local newspapers, radio and television.
Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities and Health, at the Borough Council, said there was a determination from partners across the county to ensure no-one was left behind in the vaccination drive.
“The importance of ensuring that everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated has been is never so stark than with Stafford’s street homeless, where Covid-19 vaccinations have been rolled out to all rough sleepers in the town.
“People sleeping rough and those who are in temporary accommodation are in some of the most vulnerable groups and are more at risk of contracting Covid-19 – and if they do become infected, then the likelihood is they will become seriously ill.
“The vast majority have chaotic lifestyles brought on by a range of issues which will make it more challenging to arrange, or keep, vaccination appointments in the usual way.
“I am pleased we are protecting them, and I am grateful for the support of all of the vaccination teams across Stafford Borough, especially from their roving team, Suzanne and Danny, and those involved in sustaining and providing emergency accommodation throughout lockdown in being able to help all these people.”
During the pandemic extra support has been given to make sure people living on the streets were provided with temporary housing. Within the 48 hours of the first lockdown, the council had found accommodation for every rough sleeper.
Press Release No 5748