Somerset County Council is joining forces with transport providers to help vulnerable residents get to their Covid vaccination appointments.
There are now 18 vaccination sites across Somerset including community based locations, hospital hubs and large vaccination centres at Taunton Racecourse and the Bath & West Showground. While many older and more vulnerable people will be able to attend a location close to their home, some will be relying on public transport.
Somerset County Council is working with bus operators and community transport providers to make it as easy as possible for those people to get to appointments by:
- Working with First West of England to provide a service every 30 minutes from Wells Bus Station via Shepton Mallet terminating at the showground – seven days a week, providing connections to/from other bus services at both Wells Bus Station and Shepton Mallet Cenotaph. This service is also free for bus pass holders and will commence on February 1.
- Suspending current concessionary bus pass rules so these can be used on all public services before 9.30am. This comes into effect from February 1.
- Working with Community Transport and Slinky Demand Responsive services across Somerset to allow free travel for bus pass holders when attending vaccination appointments.
“Many older and more vulnerable people don’t drive or have access to a car,” said Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport.
“Community Transport services across our County are already doing an amazing job helping people get to their vaccinations and I’d like to pay tribute to them.
“To support this even further we wanted to see what else we could do for concessionary bus pass holders and those relying on public transport. I’m really pleased we have pulled all this together at short notice, thanks to the co-operation and support of our bus operators.”
Karen Prosser, Programme Director for the Somerset vaccination programme, said: “It is very important that people come forward for a vaccination when they are invited and we are delighted that these transport measures have been put in place to support this further. This vaccination programme is a partnership effort and I thank everyone who is supporting this vital programme across our county.”
If you have not yet had your vaccination, it might be worth preparing in advance how you will get there. If you aren’t able to drive yourself, but you have a family member or friend who might be able to support you – it’s always worth having that conversation now.
For those who have no form of transport and are struggling please check out our community transport pages.
The NHS has set up a web page which sets out more information about Somerset’s vaccination programme. This can be viewed at www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccinations-in-somerset/.
If anyone is concerned about accessing an appointment, or needs other help or support during the pandemic, please call the Coronavirus helpline on 0300 790 6275. Lines are open from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week.