No buses mean mum misses jab

A single mum and key worker says she has missed out on getting a Covid vaccination for another month because of a lack of public transport.

Heidi Matthews and her son, from Sleaford. EMN-210204-174803001

Heidi Matthews, of Sleaford, was contacted by the NHS last week to offer a jab at the Meres Leisure Centre in Grantham on Easter Sunday or Monday.

Unable to drive, she was faced with an unfeasible 40-minute walk with a young son from the bus or train station, made worse by a limited timetable meaning waits of several hours.

The 46-year-old said if she will now miss out on a jab for at least another month, despite being a key worker, employed at Sainsbury’s. There is a slow down in vaccine supply in April with older, vulnerable people being prioritised for their all-important second dose. Slots at her local GP surgery were no sooner.

Heidi said: “I was given the number for CallConnect, which are a great, on-demand bus service run by the county council. But they told me they don’t work on Bank Holidays or Sundays. This is crazy. They are a publicly owned and run service and should be working with the health service during this pandemic to help get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Heidi branded it “old fashioned thinking” saying: “This is not an ordinary time. NHS staff are volunteering to come in on their days off to vaccinate people as soon as possible, but I have missed my opportunity.”

Paul Sanders, CallConnect manager sympathised, saying: “We have made numerous changes to CallConnect to help more people get to their vaccinations, including extending routes to vaccination centres.

“Unfortunately, all public transport services naturally reduce over bank holidays as the need for people to travel is greatly diminished, and as such the CallConnect service does not operate on Sundays or bank holidays.”

l He said anyone concerned about getting to their vaccination appointment can call the council’s Transport Helpline on 0345 456 4474 for transport options available.