Somerset MP questions access to booster jabs

By way of example, the editor of The Leveller was invited to get a booster jab. This was before the omicron variant emerged. A few days before the Government announcement that Uncle Tom Cobley and all should get a booster. He was offered an appointment at Haynes Motor Museum near Sparkford. Nothing wrong with that per se. It is not as convenient as it could be. Sparkford is a 30 minute drive from Langport.

But had he not had his own transport he would have been stuffed. There is no public transport that links Langport to Sparkford.

This is the sort of issue that has been filling David Warburton”s postbag of late. The MP for Somerton & Frome is to use Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday to raise the issue. He told us “I’ve been contacted by an increasing number of constituents in this position. They are unable to get a booster due to the lack of local vaccination centres. Or a lack of boosters being administered to the house-bound or those needing special care. Others in my constituency simply have little or no access to transport. The booster centres are often an enormous distance away and impossible for them to reach.”

Mr Warburton told us that across the constituency of Somerton and Frome 38,000 boosters have been given. That’s to those over 12. the constituency includes bits of 2 districts, Mendip and South Somerset. In Mendip just 37% of [people have received boosters, in South Somerset it is 38%.

The MP says he’ll use Prime Minister’s Questions to highlight the issue. He needs to urgently to improve access to vaccination centres in our rural areas. Mr Warburton adds “I intend to meet with the Secretary of State for Health to get to the bottom of this and seek a quick remedy. I want to esnsure my constituents can get their boosters and stay protected this winter.”


  • It is a pity the unused Phoenix unit,at Priory Health Park in Wells
    Is not being put to good use, for a vaccination centre

  • Frome is woefully under represented for vaccination hubs. Most people are having to venture across the county border into west Wiltshire, or in my case, a village pharmacy in BANES. As a County councillor, I was able ask for a Covid testing centre in Frome, but have no influence over the vaccination sites. Sparkford is an absurd distance to travel within the county for many communities with no direct bus routes.

  • I recall that when Showground opened as a vaccination centre there was a shuttle bus from Shepton (or was it Wells). The day I had my 1st vaccination back in January the bus arrived and nobody got off. Once the driver had had his fresh air break nobody got on and it departed. Yes, Sparkford might be difficult for “vaccinees” to visit – given that whenever I drive past, the vaccination (as against Museum) carpark seems to be full, I wonder what % of theoretical throughput it achieves.

  • Given that David Warburton’s office is very close to Haynes he probably has a collection of “tales from the coal-face”!

  • In my experience a significant proportion of the people being vaccinated at Haynes come up from Dorset, mainly Dorchester. We had quite a successful drop-in session a week ago in Street next to the Clarks Village where about 1200 jabs were given. Hopefully it can be repeated soon and on a regular basis.

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