Since their introduction in July 2021, the cabs have been helping those for whom travel was a barrier, to get vaccinated at a centre.
The initiative was launched to address situations where people didn’t get vaccinated because it was difficult for them to travel to a vaccination centre.
As a free initiative the ‘Vaxi-cabs’ also addresses inequalities, ensuring that anyone can call one of the approved Luton cab drivers on the Luton council website, and arrange a visit to any of the Luton vaccination sites.
The taxis can accommodate up to five people and have carried out journeys with whole families and entire households.
Cllr Khtija Malik, the Portfolio Holder for Population Wellbeing (Public Health and Integration) at Luton council said: “This initiative has meant that we have been able to vaccinate more people in Luton and in particular those that would not have had the means to get to the vaccination sites.
“Groups like the Covid-19 Community Champions and Luton Council of Faiths were instrumental in advocating for the programme.
“The vaccine take-up rates in Luton and in particular the booster is very low and that is why I am so delighted that this initiative is going to carry on. We need to remove as many barriers as possible and encourage our population to get vaccinated to protect those that are more vulnerable”.
Cllr Javed Hussain, Portfolio Holder for Population Wellbeing (Adult Social Care) at Luton council said: “I am so pleased that we have had the continued support of our local taxi drivers and companies in Luton. Without their commitment and dedication this service would not have worked.
“One example of the programme working well was the journey taken in March 2022 by a group of Afghan evacuees from their accommodation to a mass vaccination centre.
“In total, six adults and one baby made the journey. The driver waited for up to an hour to ensure that they had all been vaccinated and could return together.”
Geraint Davies, Senior Responsible Officer for the vaccination programme for NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “The Vaxi-cab service is another fantastic example of how the BLMK health and care system is pulling out all the stops to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get their Covid-19 vaccine.
“Getting vaccinated is the most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid-19. The Vaxi-cab service clearly provides support to our local population to enable them to get their life saving jabs. I encourage everyone who may have put off getting their vaccine because it wasn’t easy or convenient to get to a vaccination site to use this free service to get their COVID-19 jab over the coming weeks”.
The Vaxi-cab programme will continue into 2022 to support the vaccination uptake in Luton. You can walk into the Redgrave Centre or the Old Post Office in The Mall and many pharmacies in Luton, with no need to book.
Find out more online.