A NEW Covid-19 vaccine bus welcomed people on board for the first time today.

Vaccinations took place on the bus at the Meridian Centre in Peacehaven.

The bus, which is the first of its kind in the Brighton area, offers a mix of walk-in vaccines - subject to NHS eligibility criteria - and appointments booked with GPs.

The mobile vaccination bus is a partnership between Brighton and Hove Buses, the not-for-profit healthcare social enterprise Here, which provides NHS services, and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Here chief executive Dr Helen Curr said: “Over the past few months Here and general practice has established a fantastic partnership to deliver over 50,000 vaccinations for people across Brighton, Hove and the Havens at the Brighton Racecourse.

The Argus: The first vaccination bus for the Brighton areaThe first vaccination bus for the Brighton area

"We are thrilled to be expanding this partnership to create a new innovation with Brighton and Hove Buses to enable ever more innovative ways of delivering vaccines to where they are needed most.

"We are so grateful for the extraordinary efforts made on all sides to make this work and look forward to seeing the buses out in action very soon.”

Brighton and Hove and Metrobus’ managing director Martin Harris said he was pleased to see the first mobile vaccination bus in the Brighton area up and running, making it easier to get the vaccine to hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities.

The bus joins those already operating in Crawley and Merstham, which the bus company runs in partnership with the Alliance For Better Care.

Martin said: “We are very proud to be part of the NHS’ coronavirus vaccination program.

"It is also a privilege to work alongside Here, which does excellent work putting patients first by integrating their healthcare.

“The bus is ideal because it has a built-in one-way system and it’s easy to ensure good ventilation.

"Some people, like those who have been shielding, may prefer not to go to hospital for their jab and get on a bus instead.

“There has been a lot of enthusiasm among our drivers to drive the vaccination buses.

"They’ve been keen to drive them because they want to be part of the national effort to reach everybody and to help get people protected.”

A Metrobus bus became the UK’s first mobile Covid-19 vaccination unit when it opened its doors in Crawley in February.

Since then, Martin said the bus company had received a number of enquiries from hospitals, GPs, and bus companies about setting up similar projects in other parts of the country.

To find out more, visit www.hereweare.org.uk.