A scheme launched by a Jewish doctor in which black cabs provide people with accessible transport to pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinics, has launched from a synagogue on Sunday.
The Vaxi Taxi programme aims to help ferry supplies and patients to temporary clinics set up in faith and community centres across the capital.
The pilot of the programme began at Holland Park Synagogue, where people of all faiths were invited to receive the jab.
Dr Sharon Raymond, who is Jewish, said: “It’s about collaborating with the community with the NHS to try and achieve the common goal of getting this country vaccinated.”
A spokesperson for Holland Park Synagogue said: “We are delighted at the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, Holland Park to support the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination programme.”
It has been wonderful to have been able to extend the programme to other faith groups in W11. We thank them for they support they have given us and look to working with them and the NHS in the future.”
Funded by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation, founded by Dr Raymond, who is Jewish, organisers hope the scheme will encourage more people who have limited access to transport to receive the jab.
— Sharon raymond (@Sharonray1512) February 14, 2021
Dr Sharon Raymond, director of the foundation, said: “We are aiming to have pop-up vaccination clinics across London eventually, with a fleet of Vaxi Taxis to help set them up in community centres and faith centres.
“We hope that by doing these pop-up vaccination centres in community centres and faith centres it will reassure people that this is a good way forward.
“It will be a familiar place, not having to go to their own GP surgery.”
Along with transporting patients, the taxis will be used to bring equipment from hospitals to the pop-up clinics.
Dr Raymond said the wheelchair-accessible Mercedes Vito taxis will also have a carer in the back who can accompany patients, particularly those with disabilities.
She said the long-term aim was to be able to vaccinate people from within the vehicle.
“Throughout the day the taxis will come back and forth (to the vaccination clinics) bringing in patients who have difficulties with private transport or may not have access to it,” Dr Raymond said.
The pop-up clinics are being organised by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation in collaboration with the NHS in London.
Two weeks ago, Dr Raymond supported the launch of a mobile vaccination unit, which visited two sites in north Kensington. The scheme was created with Muslim GP Yasmin Razak.
To donate to the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/coronavirus-fightback
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