The clinic was organised by Atlantic Medical Group, the SeaFit programme, Cornwall Council’s Healthy Cornwall team and NHS Kernow, who recognise it’s not always easy for fishermen to be able to book appointment because of the nature of their work.
Antony Hosking, boat owner of Stellissa and Silver Dawn, said: “It has been amazing being able to have the crew vaccinated locally to ensure they stay as safe as possible – we all really appreciate it.”
Tracey Hembrough, Atlantic Medical Group nurse partner, provided the vaccinations to the fishermen.
She said: “Fishing is a mainstay for many families within our community and we appreciate how difficult it can be for those who are going in and out on the boats to book an appointment and travel to a surgery, pharmacy or large-scale vaccination sites.
“We were really pleased with the response and we’ll be back in Newlyn to provide them with their second doses when they’re due within the next 12 weeks, and because it was such a success were also considering holding a second pop-up clinic to farm workers in the very near future.”
Hazel Smith, from Cornwall Council’s Healthy Cornwall team who is working on the Seafit programme, said: “There was a great atmosphere and all the fishermen who received their vaccine seemed to really appreciate the pop-up clinic being available.
“The migrant fishermen were really happy to get their vaccine as it means they can travel home to see their families and several UK fishermen said they wouldn’t have gone and got a vaccine if yesterday’s clinic didn’t happen due the difficulty of fitting appointments around their jobs.”
“It’s great knowing that this pop-up has helped so many people get a vaccine.”
Dr Rob White, primary care clinical lead for the COVID-19 vaccination programme and NHS Kernow Governing Body member, said: “Everyone is working hard to make sure that anyone eligible to have their vaccine can do so as easily as possible.
“I would like to applaud the Atlantic Medical Group, the Seafit programme and Cornwall Council, in their efforts to ensure that no one is left behind in the COVID vaccine programme, which is claws for celebration.”
Rachel Wigglesworth, director of public health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, said: “This pop-up vaccine clinic for fishermen is an excellent idea and a great example of the system-wide approach we have in Cornwall to make sure no communities get left behind when it comes to public health.
“It’s fantastic that so many people took advantage of it to get their vaccine and I would encourage everyone to have their jab as soon as it is offered to them. If we all do this and follow the rules, test regularly, self-isolate when needed and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ then we can keep COVID at bay and get back to doing the things we love.”
Carol Elliott, SeaFit programme manager, said: “Through the SeaFit Programme the Fishermen’s Mission and the Seafarers Hospital Society wants to do its part in the fight against COVID-19. We realised that some fishermen are not registered with a GP, so would not receive invitations for their vaccinations. We’ve been working closely with several NHS health providers enabling them to make contact with people from an often hard-to-reach community and are delighted that the Atlantic Medical Group was able to organise such a successful event.”