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Covid-19

Call for people aged 70 and over to contact NHS for Covid jab

People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid and who would like to be are today being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Until now the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first – and that remains the case for most people.

However, to ensure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.

Access to Vaccination Sites

As part of Somerset County Council’s support of the wider Covid-19 vaccination programme, consideration has been given to assisting access to vaccination appointments. As a result, the following measures have been implemented, with effect from 1st February 2021:

 Concessionary Fares

  • The 09.30am start time for the acceptance of Concessionary bus passes on all local bus services in Somerset has been temporarily removed. Bus operators have all been contacted and have made the necessary changes to ticket machines, so no pass holder will be charged a fare if they travel before 09.30 am. This is a temporary measure and will be reviewed as the vaccination programme continues to roll out. Once this dispensation is no longer required then the restrictions will be reinstated.
  • For Community Transport and Slinky Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) Services where Concessionary Bus Pass holders do not get free travel but instead have to pay half fares, operators of these services across Somerset have agreed that if someone makes a booking, and when asked the journey purpose they state they are attending a Covid-19 vaccination they will be offered free travel. All passengers are asked the purpose of their journey at the point of booking, so this should be able to ensure that those being vaccinated benefit from free travel.

Additional Bus Service

Bath & West Showground – a half hourly service operated by First West of England from 08:00 to 20:00 from Wells Bus Station via Shepton Mallet terminating at the showground has been implemented temporarily. This will operate seven days a week providing connections to/from other bus services at both Wells Bus Station and Shepton Mallet Cenotaph (bus interchange). Concessionary pass holders will have free travel and fare payers will pay normal fares. The operator will claim back costs for this additional service through the Covid Bus Services Support Grant (CBSSG) scheme, so there will be no cost to SCC.

Two key pieces of information for passengers travelling are:

  • Passengers must take their appointment letters with them.
  • Passengers should aim to use the timetabled journey which arrives at the Bath & West Showground as close to their appointment time as possible to avoid waiting time on site.

We are working closely with the NHS and partners to consider the need for a shuttle service to the Racecourse. At this time the site management do not believe there is sufficient demand for a shuttle service and there are other vaccination site options in Taunton for those without transport. We continue to keep this under review.

If anyone needs help to access an appointment, they should call the Coronavirus helpline on 0300 790 6275. Lines are open from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week.

Covid 19 Car Sharing Advice

One in three people don’t have any symptoms of coronavirus, and it can easily spread in the small enclosed space of a vehicle. So avoid car sharing with those outside your household or support bubble. Think twice before getting a lift to work with colleagues or taking a friend or relative grocery shopping or to a medical appointment, unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

If you have to car share, please follow these simple steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus:

😷 Everyone should wear face coverings

↔️       Sit as far apart as possible

‍♀️        Share with the same small group of people each time

💨 Open windows for ventilation

           Wash or sanitise your hands before and after your journey

           Clean the car between journeys, paying attention to touch points such as door handles.