NHS in Essex has teamed up with Ford and community health leaders to launch a vital initiative in Central and South Essex, to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to communities exposed to COVID-19 and those who may experience barriers in accessing traditional healthcare services. Despite the UK’s success in rolling out a vaccine, uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine is lower among some communities facing access challenges. These communities include those experiencing homelessness, ethnically diverse communities, mobile communities and unregistered patients. To help address this, a specially converted Ford Transit truck will begin traveling through Essex starting next month, with GP practices working alongside community leaders to safely deliver and manage vaccines in areas with low absorption. Ford Transit will be a hub for dedicated vaccine clinics on church grounds, mosques, and other community settings. The NHS and partners across the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership will coordinate with community and group leaders to fill pre-booked appointments to mobilize and vaccinate as many people from local communities as possible. Taking the vaccine was exceptionally strong; 19 out of 20 people 50 years of age or older have chosen to accept the still available offer. In addition, the number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds has more than tripled in the past two months. The Vaccine Cart initiative aims to help continue the NHS’s efforts to manage COVID-19 vaccines to as many people as possible. The bespoke car is based on the Ford Transit, the UK’s most popular commercial vehicle for 56 years, and was converted by West Yorkshire-based automaker Venari Group. Transit’s specifications include medical cooling with WIFI monitoring, vaccine transport coolers, a folding chair for administering vaccines plus an integrated tablet device for accessing and updating health and vaccination records. Mandy Dean, Commercial Vehicles Manager at Ford in Britain, said: “Over the coming weeks, this Ford Transit will be making some very important journeys as a vaccine transport vehicle. Working with the NHS and community leaders to deliver this great scheme and promote the roll out of the prototype vaccine has been a privilege. To our conversion partners at the Venari Group, who continue to work with us to make thousands of life-saving vehicles for emergency services every year. ” Dr Smitch Patel, Clinical Director at Benfleet Primary Care Network, Essex commented: “Our goal of giving everyone an equal opportunity to receive this essential vaccine is now within reach, given the additional support from our valuable network from community leaders, Ford and the Finari Group. This additional mobility means that the gap will be closed for many who have difficulty visiting a local vaccination center. With this support, we are entering an important chapter in our vaccine launch with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. “The departure of the completed vaccination truck from our factory to British roads represents a historic moment for us,” said Oliver North, CEO of The Finari Group. We worked closely with Ford and NHS in Essex to create such an important vehicle, which is set to make a huge impact in society. ”Ford and NHS Essex Vaccination Transit will take to the roads from early May. The program will run as an initial beta program, with it in place. There is room to increase the number of vehicles in the future and to explore more awareness models in the future.