An out of service Stagecoach Manchester bus has been given a new lease of life as an NHS COVID-19 vaccination centre, serving the Greater Manchester and Yorkshire areas.
The bus, which received its first patients earlier this week, is anticipated to see vaccinations administered to between 1,000 and 4,000 people in total.
Previously in use as a ‘Santa’s Grotto’ bus, the new mobile vaccination centre will travel throughout Greater Manchester and Yorkshire over the next 12 to 16 weeks.
It has the capacity to vaccinate up to 200 people a day.
Targeting hard to reach areas, schools, colleges and university vaccination programmes, the bus will also form part of the homeless roll out plan for the area, making the COVID-19 vaccination more accessible for thousands.
“This is great initiative between the NHS and Stagecoach Manchester, and allows us to provide greater accessibility to vaccines for residents in the Greater Manchester and Yorkshire areas,” said Safraz Shafqat, NHS PCN Lead for North Manchester.
Stagecoach is Britain’s biggest bus and coach operator, and Stagecoach Manchester serves communities throughout Greater Manchester covering Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Wigan.
The company introduced 32 electric double decker buses into Greater Manchester in March 2020. These were the first electric double deckers in the region and in their first year in service clocked up over 700,000 carbon free miles.
The mobile vaccination centre bus is currently on the move, and will serve areas of Greater Manchester and Yorkshire.
“We are delighted to be able to assist with the vaccination roll out in this way, serving local communities in more remote areas in order to help in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lee Wasnidge, Managing Director of Stagecoach Manchester.
“We’d also like to extend our gratitude to the hard-working NHS staff that have been working tirelessly over the past 18 months to treat those affected by the coronavirus, and to help administer vaccines.”