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Pop-up testing and vaccination service steps up to meet the new challenge

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Devon’s pop up testing and vaccination service is to be more flexible and to cover more ground, in response to the county’s elevated designation as an ‘enhanced response area’.

The government announced last week that Devon, alongside Plymouth, Torbay, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are to receive extra support from the government to help reduce coronavirus case rates. Case rates in the four authority areas are among the highest in the country.

Devon County Council is working with those authority areas, Public Health England and the government to work out how best to utilise the additional support.

But already the council has said it’s extending its capacity to deliver the pop up testing and vaccination to areas of the county where vaccine take up so far has been low.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health DevonSteve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health Devon, said:

“With the enhanced response area designation, people will see and hear more resource going into the things that they will already be familiar with.

“Our pop up community testing sites have been running for many months, and we’ve recently expanded it to include vaccinations.

“But from next week, we’ll have vaccine teams embedded within our own clinics, providing us more flexibility to schedule pop-up stops in towns and parishes across Devon where we know vaccine take up is low.

“Last week, for example, we were able to vaccinate 60 people in just four hours – people who may otherwise have not been able to take up the vaccine.

“This extra resource means that we will be able to respond quickly to get the vaccine out to people.”

The pop-up vaccination service is to support the local roll out of the vaccination programme, which has reached nearly 90 per cent of the adult population in Devon with at least one dose.

So far, the council’s pop-up testing and vaccination vehicles have vaccinated around 500 people.  Tomorrow (Wednesday 1 September), it’s in Exeter, outside Exeter Central Station.

“Devon is a very large, rural county. We do not have hotspots of coronavirus – case rates are high generally everywhere. So using a pop-up mobile testing and vaccination model to target our resources is a great way to get out to individuals and communities who are otherwise harder to reach, or less likely to engage with the national vaccine programme,” said Steve Brown.