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Sudbury taxi drivers team up to help patients get to Covid-19 vaccinations




Taxi companies and volunteers have teamed up to help older people attend vital appointments to receive their Covid-19 vaccine.

As the first wave of GP practices and health clinics start offering the jab this week, those eligible - many of whom are aged over 80 - may face difficulties in getting to their surgery.

But thanks to the efforts of cabbies, and a network of volunteers who are coordinating the effort, anyone set to get the vaccination can enjoy a free trip to and from the appointment.

Jo Cleverley and David Cook from Cooks Private Hire. Picture by Mark Westley.
Jo Cleverley and David Cook from Cooks Private Hire. Picture by Mark Westley.

Jo Cleverley, manager of Sudbury Cab Company, one of three firms taking part, said: “We decided to do it to support the community, there are lots of elderly people who can’t travel. We thought we would take them to Cornard Surgery.

“We wanted to offer a free ride there and back as we want them to get vaccinations. A few elderly people called me and we put on Twitter that we would be doing it. The MP commended it as good community spirit. We have already had 11 phone calls come in.”

Local GPs will begin providing the vaccine from today (Thursday). Great Cornard Surgery, part of the Hardwicke House group, is being served by Sudbury Cab Company. This will serve the majority of residents in Sudbury area.

There is also The Long Melford Surgery in Lavenham which will vaccinate the majority of patients in Clare, Long Melford, Lavenham and surrounding villages. Lifts for this practice will be organised by Long Melford Volunteer Group, who have members at the other end of a phone willing to lend their driving. The group can also call on the help of taxi companies, including Cooks Private Hire. The process works by a GP surgery asking the patient if they can make arrangements for their own travel to receive the vaccine. If they cannot, they will then be given the number of the volunteer group or taxi company.

Jo Cleverley and David Cook from Cooks Private Hire. Picture by Mark Westley.
Jo Cleverley and David Cook from Cooks Private Hire. Picture by Mark Westley.

Rebecca Cook, of Cooks Private Hire, said: “We have been helping out since the first lockdown when we realised so many people could not do their shopping. Everything they took for granted was taken away.

“The vaccine is massive and we want everyone to get it. It would mean so much to the vulnerable.”

Lee Phillips, coordinator of the volunteer group, added: “It is great the generation are pro vaccine and keen. Most have been inside since March and are anxious to go out. We have put safety measures in place in the cars and we have already had calls from people aged up to 95.”

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