Clinical staff from our Eastbourne GP led health centre administered vaccinations to homeless people this week as part of a flu prevention initiative.

On the evening of 17 October 2017, clinical staff visited the Salvation Army centre in Langney Road to provide flu jabs to some of the homeless population within Eastbourne.

The session was held after Public Health England (PHE) invited IC24 to support a flu vaccination initiative amongst the homeless population in the area. The vaccinations were given at the Salvation Army centre, whilst a hot meal evening was being held.

Clinical staff from our walk in centre, based at Eastbourne Station, offered to support the initiative and a total of 19 people had the vaccination. We will be working closely with the local Salvation Army to identify other ways in which further support can be provided. 

Debbie Pullinger, Clinical Lead at Eastbourne walk in centre for Integrated Care 24 said: ‘We are aware that homeless people will not always have the best access to healthcare. They are at high risk of developing flu due to the amount of time spent exposed to the elements, and providing this service will hopefully help reduce the risk of them falling ill during the winter months. There’s a concerted effort nationally to prevent a flu epidemic this winter and reduce the number of admissions to hospital; when we were approached by Public Health England and asked if we would help deliver this programme in Eastbourne we were only too happy to support.’

Dr Max Kammerling, Screening and Immunisations Lead for the PHE in Sussex and Surrey, said: ‘It is vital at this time of year that we all do as much as we can to help the people most at risk take better care of their health in winter, and avoid becoming so ill that they have to go to a GP or be admitted to hospital. This includes people with chronic diseases, or other health conditions which cause a weakened immune system, and we urge them to get their flu vaccination as they are at much greater risk of the serious complications of flu.'

'People living on the streets or in temporary accommodation are particularly vulnerable when the weather turns cold, and the consequences can be potentially life threatening. Offering flu vaccinations before the flu virus circulates and providing health assessments can make a real difference to protecting them in this difficult time – and we fully support initiatives such as these and encourage all those who are able to do the same.’