Black cabs are being used to provide people with accessible transport to pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinics in London as part of a new pilot scheme.
The Vaxi Taxi programme aims to help ferry supplies and patients to temporary clinics set up in faith and community centres across the capital.
Funded by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation, organisers hope the scheme will encourage more people who have limited access to transport to receive the jab.
Dr Sharon Raymond, director of the foundation, said: “We are aiming to have pop-up vaccination clinics across London eventually, with a fleet of Vaxi Taxis to help set them up in community centres and faith centres.
“We hope that by doing these pop-up vaccination centres in community centres and faith centres it will reassure people that this is a good way forward.
“It will be a familiar place, not having to go to their own GP surgery.”
Along with transporting patients, the taxis will be used to bring equipment from hospitals to the pop-up clinics.
Dr Raymond said the wheelchair-accessible Mercedes Vito taxis will also have a carer in the back who can accompany patients, particularly those with disabilities.
She said the long-term aim was to be able to vaccinate people from within the vehicle.
“Throughout the day the taxis will come back and forth (to the vaccination clinics) bringing in patients who have difficulties with private transport or may not have access to it,” Dr Raymond said.
The pop-up clinics are being organised by the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation in collaboration with the NHS in London.
The Vaxi Taxi pilot began at Holland Park Synagogue on Sunday, where people of all faiths were invited to receive the jab.
Dr Raymond added: “It’s about collaborating with the community with the NHS to try and achieve the common goal of getting this country vaccinated.”
To donate to the Covid Crisis Rescue Foundation, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/coronavirus-fightback