Free flu jabs for rough sleepers

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Those who sleep rough throughout the winter are more perceptible to falling seriously ill. © The Whitechapel Centre

Those who sleep rough throughout the winter are more perceptible to falling seriously ill. © The Whitechapel Centre

Homeless people throughout the city are being urged to receive free flu vaccinations during the winter period.

The jabs will be provided by The Basement Advisory Centre, a local homeless charity, in conjunction with Brownlow Health, as the cold weather sets in and those who sleep rough are more likely to develop flu than others.

Charlotte Mansbridge, the Strategic Director at the Basement Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: “The Basement Advisory Centre and Brownlow Heath have worked in partnership over previous years to provide winter health vaccinations to rough sleepers, and street drinkers within the city of Liverpool.

“This clinic is delivered all year round, however it offers a specialist promotion during winter months to offer flu jabs to those who are vulnerable and not accessing GP services.”

“This vaccination will offer prevention to the flu virus. Due to poor health and living conditions, rough sleepers and those vulnerably housed are more susceptible to the flu virus, and therefore without it could develop potentially serious complications of flu such as bronchitis and pneumonia.”

According to statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government, there were as many as 152 rough sleepers on any one night throughout the North West of England in 2013.

The Whitechapel Centre, a local homeless charity that works closely with the Basement, estimates that there are as many as 20 people sleeping rough each night in Liverpool.

Frank Hont, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Fairness and Equalities, believes that it is vital to offer such services to those who are classed as the most susceptible throughout the winter; such as the homeless and older people.

Cllr Hont told JMU Journalism: “We would support any initiative that would be of benefit to those people who live on the streets. Liverpool council has a very proactive attitude towards homelessness and we do everything we can to help.”

The Basement is encouraging people to come and receive their free jabs at its Parr Street office before the temperatures drop. Ms Mansbridge added: “This is a quick and simple vaccination, it is free and you can access the clinic twice a week at The Basement Advisory Centre. We offer a safe confidential space, with friendly supportive staff.

“These vaccinations will be available only to homeless clients from the Basement Advisory Centre on Mondays and Thursdays between 5pm and 8pm.”

About Samantha Gaulter-Green, JMU Journalism