Oldham Council is teaming up with local GPs to ensure the homeless are given priority for COVID-19 vaccinations in the coming weeks.
3,700 people have received the vaccine in Oldham since the mass rollout began in December – with the most at-risk group, the over 80s, being given the first jabs.
But those living rough or without a permanent address will also be placed on high on the list of vaccine recipients, Oldham Council has revealed.
Councillor Zahid Chauhan, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “People living on the streets, or those who have no permanent address, are some of the most vulnerable people in society and need help and support.
“Because they live on the streets they can also come into contact with a large number of people, which means if they have Coronavirus there is a big risk they could pass it on to others. That’s why it is important they are offered the vaccine.”
The councillor added: “We also know that most people who are homeless have experienced a lot of trauma, both prior to and during homelessness. That means they may have good reasons for not trusting healthcare providers and people in authority. They may also hear misinformation on the street.
“But our message is the same to everyone – the vaccination is safe and if you are offered it please take it up as you are helping protect yourselves, your family, friends and the wider community.”
Oldham was placed under tougher restrictions for huge portions of the pandemic in 2020, with the borough suffering from extremely high infection rates compared to the rest of England.
Infection rates in the area are currently the third lowest in Greater Manchester, but are beginning to once again rise sharply.
Volunteer groups such as Oldham Helping Hands have proven vital in supporting the most vulnerable community members during this period; delivering food and essential supplies right across the borough.
For more information, advice and assistance on homelessness in Oldham, consult the council website.