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Coronavirus vaccine bus coming to West Berkshire to target Lambourn's racing industry

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A CORONAVIRUS vaccination bus is scheduled to stop in West Berkshire next week to encourage vaccine take up in remote parts of the district.

Plans had been in place for the bus to come to the district, but it has been complementing the surge testing for the Delta variant of the virus in Reading and Wokingham.

Local manager for Berkshire West NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Jo Reeves, told a meeting on Monday that the bus would be targetting the racing industry in Lambourn next week.

An NHS 'Health on the Move' van (48551936)
An NHS 'Health on the Move' van (48551936)

Mrs Reeves said: "For convenience reasons, or whatever other reasons, they might have found it really difficult to get out of work to go and get their jab.

"We're going to take the jab to them, and we're hoping to get some good take-up, and we'll work with the local community and Racing Welfare to promote that clinic."

Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen) said Lambourn was selected because "of the rurality of the location and we have potentially got a lot of young people over there that work in that community."

West Berkshire Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen) (46855967)
West Berkshire Council leader Lynne Doherty (Con, Speen) (46855967)

Mrs Doherty said that vaccination data provided a break down of age and ethnicity, adding: "it's where do we feel that we could be most proactive using that data."

Monday's meeting heard that there have been 50 confirmed cases of the Delta variant of the virus in West Berkshire, although the figure could be 75 with the number of unconfirmed cases.

Reading has recorded 239 cases of the variant, and Wokingham 229.

Communities and wellbeing service director, Matt Pearce, said the number could be a lot higher because of the time it takes to sequence test results, and that the variant was likely to be the dominant strain across the country.

Newbury Racecourse vaccination centre - Dr Ben Curtis from Downland practice . Picture Phil Cannings. (46654664)
Newbury Racecourse vaccination centre - Dr Ben Curtis from Downland practice . Picture Phil Cannings. (46654664)

Mrs Doherty added: "Obviously our numbers have gone up but we are nowhere near as high as Reading or Wokingham. The good news is we are not seeing the corelation with hospitalisation or deaths.

"The key thing is vaccination here. We are doing well in terms of getting people vaccinated."

Mrs Reeves said that the data on vaccine take-up was showing promising signs across the district.

There had been an increased vaccine take up in the more deprived council wards of Thatcham Central and Greenham, with 77 per cent of over 18s in Thatcham Central being vaccinated against 67 per cent in Greenham.

At 64 per cent, the vaccination rate among West Berkshire's Asian and British Indian communities now exceeded, for the first time, the rate among counterpart demographics in Reading.

Until early-May, this rate had stagnated around 30 per cent, and vaccine planners had been looking to engage with Asian residents via targeted outreach programmes.

By contrast, 83 per cent of 'White British' residents had had at least one vaccination, and 72 per cent of 'White Other', with slower, more steady increases documented among these groups since March.

Mrs Doherty also said that the community testing site at the Burghfield Community Sports Association will be closing next week.

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