MORE than 250 Covid vaccines were dished out at the first booster bus session on the Isle of Wight but it was not all plain sailing, as anti-vaxxers turned up.

The booster bus rolled into town in Sandown yesterday (Thursday) to find queues of people waiting for their third Covid vaccination.

It comes after the accessibility of booster vaccines for Island residents was questioned as some struggled to book an appointment or were being sent to the mainland.

The bus has the capacity to vaccinate 1,750 people over four days, on top of the capacity at vaccination centres.

Speaking at a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council's local outbreak engagement board, Jane Ansell, senior responsible officer and programme director for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid vaccination programme, said the Island was prioritised in the supply of roving vaccine facilities.

There were a few hiccups to start the day, Ms Ansell said, including an issue with the staffing rota but generally, people were understanding and supportive.

However, Ms Ansell said, there was a 'little bit of an anti-vax problem' yesterday and people were 'gently escorted away'.

She did say there were cheers when the anti-vaxxers left and praise for staff holding their nerve.

Cabinet member for adult social care and public health, Cllr Karl Love, said it was an irresponsible and unacceptable thing for anti-vaxxers to do.

He said: "It is one thing to be an anti-vaxxer in your own right but to go out and intimate other people, trying to dissuade them, is just not acceptable when we know herd immunisation works ... lives are being saved. Please, carry on getting your vaccine."

The bus was in Freshwater today (Friday), with increased capacity to meet the demand.

The booster bus is aimed at all those over 40 and eligible for the vaccine.

People who do manage to get a walk-in vaccination have been urged to cancel their booked appointment to open up the slot to someone else.

Capacity on the Island is also being stepped up, including at the Riverside Centre, to cover the increased demand for vaccinations.

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