'She was crying': 86-year-old Telford pensioner left in tears following vaccination confusion

An 86-year-old woman was left in tears after being told she would have to travel from her Telford home to Birmingham, Chester or Bristol for her Covid-19 vaccination following confusion with the roll-out of the programme.

Nancy Sanders received a letter from NHS England which said she was eligible to receive the lifesaving jab at various locations across England, with the nearest being 40 miles away. Telford MP Lucy Allan has since confirmed residents will have a second opportunity to receive the vaccination within 10 miles of their home at a later date.

But Mrs Sanders, along with dozens of other elderly residents, were told to ring the 119 coronavirus helpline to book the appointment as soon as possible.

After being told to register online and travelling to her son's house to do so, Mrs Sanders was informed her nearest vaccination clinic was at Millennium Point in Birmingham – a trip the pensioner was unable to make.

Ms Allan has since confirmed all eligible residents will receive the opportunity to be vaccinated within 10 miles of their home in the coming weeks – adding that the earlier invite was issued nationally for high risk patients to visit one of the country's "mega vaccination hubs".

The confusion has been echoed throughout the borough, with scores of elderly and high risk people being sent to other locations across the West Midlands and Northern England.

The leader of Telford & Wrekin Council issued a statement saying "this isn't good enough" before ensuring residents that the opportunity to get vaccinated locally would arise.

Nancy, who lives in Sutton Hill, said: "I had to go to my son's house in lockdown to get my granddaughter to do it while I sat in the car and I was told to go to Birmingham. I am not on my own, how do they expect us to travel there?

"I now feel very upset as when putting my postcode in I have only been offered Birmingham, Chester, Manchester and Bristol."

Meanwhile, Wellington councillor Angela McClements said she had received "lots of confused and anxious" calls from residents who thought a 40-mile trip would be their only opportunity to be vaccinated, and Councillor Lee Carter said health bosses needed to issue "urgent clarification".

Jenette Sanders, Nancy's daughter-in-law, 57 and from Priorslee, added: "She was really looking forward to having the jab as for a lot of elderly people it means so much, but when she saw the nearest was Birmingham she was crying – she was just deflated.

"To get on a train, which she can't do anyway, and then have to get a taxi to the Millennium Centre, it's just not possible."

A mass vaccination centre is set to open at Telford International Centre by the end of the month and Ms Allan confirmed the vaccination target for vulnerable groups of mid-February "will be met".

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