Shropshire Star

Town mayor calls for Covid booster clinic to help elderly get their shots

The newly-elected mayor of Market Drayton says he wants a Covid vaccination centre set up in the town, after complaints from residents struggling to get their booster shots.

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Councillor Roy Aldcroft was elected mayor for the upcoming year at the annual council meeting last Thursday, taking up the reigns from Councillor Mark Whittle.

Since taking on the role, Mayor Aldcroft says he's already received a stream of complaints from senior residents of Market Drayton regarding the lack of a Covid-19 booster vaccination centre in the town.

Due to the lack of reliable public transport, some residents are struggling to get to local centres in places such as Audlem, Whitchurch and Eccleshall.

Walk-in centres have been organised at Market Drayton Fire Station, but Councillor Aldcroft said that residents are having to queue outside for hours with no seating or shelter.

Councillor Aldcroft said: "I am receiving a steady stream of complaints from senior citizens regarding the lack of a Covid-19 inoculation centre in Market Drayton.

"Audlem, Whitchurch and Eccleshall have centres and are being offered to elderly residents who have no transport and no easy bus service to these centres.

"Being asked to ‘go online,’ 'use the app’ is not considering the age range and computer abilities of this vulnerable section of our community.

"The walk-in centres organised at fire stations have led to elderly people in long queues for up to three hours outside, with no seating or shelter, then finding the centres have run out of vaccine.

"I am also amazed that with a town the size of Market Drayton it would appear to have fallen off the map, despite having at least three centres which have been used before - the needs of the elderly in our town are being ignored.

"This vaccination programme has worked reasonably well in the past - after some hiccups the centres in Market Drayton did well, providing a good service.

"Why the change? Cost? Market Drayton residents deserve better than being sent out of town, to places with no shelter, transport links, long queues no seating and insufficient supplies for demand.

"I will be pushing hard for an early review of the current arrangement."

Steve Ellis, service director, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust said: "As we move from being in high level alert status for the Covid-19 pandemic, and transition to living with Covid, our Covid vaccination service is transitioning to business as usual.

"This means the need for large scale vaccination centres is no longer required. Instead, we are working closely with our system partners to provide a more local offer for the residents of Shropshire, Telford, and Wrekin.

"We are aware of areas where the offer is limited and in response have increased the number of community pharmacies and ‘pop-up’ clinics, particularly within north Shropshire.

"Clinics can get booked up quickly and demand at some of our pop-up clinics has been higher than expected.

"We are therefore working to increase these clinics wherever possible and aim to increase capacity at clinics where vaccine availability allows.

"Since the campaign launched four weeks ago, there has been a good uptake of vaccines across the county.

"The majority of our older adult care homes have been visited and 45 per cent of our 75+ population have received their vaccination.

"The campaign runs until June 30 and we are encouraging all eligible residents to book their vaccination or attend a walk-in clinic."