Today we've committed our Mobile Shelters to help doctors get Covid vaccines to Londoners. They will be used in densely populated areas where residents have limited access to transport routes. The announcement has been made ahead of an event in Kilburn on Sunday where crews will assist getting the vaccine to those who need it.
The all-weather mass decontamination units – normally used at chemical incidents - have their own lighting and heating and can be set up anywhere within an hour. Brigade vehicles have also been adapted to become mobile lateral flow testing and vaccination centres and firefighters will be on hand to give socially distanced fire safety advice.
We've joined forces with the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation in a move that will allow clinical professionals to bring the jab to large groups of vulnerable people who can't access vaccination hubs. By bringing the vaccine into diverse communities, with the help of faith leaders, the scheme also hopes to help dispel myths and increase vaccine take up amongst those reluctant or apprehensive.
We've identified five strategically based fire stations and buildings across the capital as potential vaccination hubs. Fire stations are in the heart of the community and are open 24/7 if vaccinations are needed to be given at night.
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said:
"At every stage of this pandemic my staff have stepped up and used their skills, knowledge and compassion to help. The latest in a long list of initiatives that London Fire Brigade has put in place to support Londoners during Covid-19. Currently 185 firefighters are driving ambulances and since April they have attended more than 110,000 incidents alongside a medically trained practitioner. They have also helped to deliver 20 million pieces of vital PPE to social care providers and fire crews have brought medicine and food to London's most vulnerable.
“Now we are ready, willing and able to assist in the largest vaccination process this country has ever seen. We are experts in getting fire safety information to hard to reach groups so we jumped at the chance to help Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation vaccinate more Londoners.
"Fire stations are strategically placed across London, trusted, safe and at the heart of our community. Londoners can be proud of the work their fire service has provided to support their communities during this most testing of times.
“Londoners can be proud that their fire service is stepping up and prepared under clinical guidance to administer the vaccine and increasing the roll out so we can combat Covid-19 sooner.”
Dr Sharon Raymond, Director of Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation said:
"I’m extremely grateful to London Fire Brigade for their help in making mobile vaccination centres possible, supporting the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation Vaxi Taxi scheme and the NHS in London by providing a large heated shelter which served as a vaccination unit, along with the invaluable help of LFB volunteers.
“Reaching out to communities, including those who are most at risk and vulnerable, to address any queries and concerns around vaccination in familiar settings with the support of faith and community leaders will make a meaningful difference in getting London vaccinated against Covid-19.
“We are also exploring the possibility of Brigade staff receiving training to give the vaccine. As the number of people who are eligible for the vaccine increases GPs and nurses will need additional support in delivering vaccinations, and more volunteer vaccinators will make a significant contribution to vaccination efforts."
Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation was set up to provide critical services help to the fight against COVID-19 across the UK.