A SPECIAL vaccine initiative has been named as a finalist for a prestigious award.

The Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership’s Essex Vax Van has been shortlisted by the HSJ Partnership Awards for its outstanding contribution to healthcare and tackling healthcare inequalities.

The converted Ford Transit delivers vaccines in areas with homelessness, ethnically diverse communities, travelling communities and unregistered patients.

Dr Smitesh Patel is the brains behind the project.

He said: “The goal was to give everyone an equal opportunity to receive this essential vaccine.

“The added mobility the Essex Vax Van has provided has enabled the gap to be bridged for so many facing a struggle to visit their local vaccination centre. With this support, we furthered our vaccine roll-out to many who without this initiative may well have not been vaccinated, leaving themselves and others at risk from infection”.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Westminster Park Plaza, London, on March 24.