Dedicated vaccination clinic jabs 170 people on World’s Down’s Syndrome Day

March 21, 2021

Almost 170 people within the Down’s Syndrome community have today received their second dose of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccine in Suffolk today – World Down’s Syndrome Day (21 March).

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and partners teamed up with the charity Project 21, to run a dedicated clinic for people with people with Down’s Syndrome at Gainsborough Sports Centre.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson, who sent a video message to the clinic today, said: “This event is a fantastic example of how local partnership work – bringing together the expertise from health, care and the voluntary sector – can help boost uptake of the vaccine for disabled people.

“This week we passed the major milestone of 25 million people in the UK having had their first jab and this continued momentum is giving us all hope.”

Paul Scott, Chief Executive of Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a provider of learning disability services, we are proud to be supporting World Down’s Syndrome Day.

“I am delighted that some of our most clinically vulnerable patients will receive second dose protection on a day of such celebration.”

Alex Munn, the founder of Project 21, said: “Many people with Down’s Syndrome have additional complex medical issues, and as a result classify as clinically extremely vulnerable. Many struggle to deal with new medical situations, so we knew the vaccination programme was going to be a challenge for our community.

“Receiving their second dose of the vaccine will mean that, for the first time in a long time, our members can start to feel optimistic about the future again. It is really fitting that this is happening on World Down’s Syndrome Day, a very special and celebrated day in our community. “

Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System, said: “Working with Project 21 has been incredibly positive as together we addressed the challenges of administering the Covid-19 vaccine to some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“It was important to make this as good an experience as possible and alleviate any anxiety for those living with Down’s Syndrome.”

The adult patients were invited to the vaccination centre run by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust in Brazier’s Wood Road after receiving their vital first dose of the vaccine in January, as they are part of a JCVI priority risk group.

They were greeted with balloons and music and given a small gift in celebration of World Down’s Syndrome Day, which aims to raise public awareness and advocate for the wellbeing of people with Down’s Syndrome. Among those vaccinating today was Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May.

EPUT is coordinating the COVID-19 vaccination centres across Suffolk and north-east Essex and mid and south Essex. Since mid-January the Trust has opened 14 centres, including four in Suffolk. They are among more than 1,600 sites offering the vaccine across England.

The vaccination programme continues to make strong progress – more than 25 million people in the UK have now received their vital first vaccine dose.

The NHS is reminding people not to contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you. Please only to come to a vaccination centre if you have a booked appointment.