Couple fume after being 'queue-jumped' at Covid vaccine site

A couple are fuming after losing their pre-booked booster jab time slot to people who turned up when the site was opened up to walk-ins.

Kath and Dave Packwood from Much Wenlock had pre-booked Covid booster jabs at AFC Telford
Kath and Dave Packwood from Much Wenlock had pre-booked Covid booster jabs at AFC Telford

Kate Packwood, aged 65, of Much Wenlock, had pre-booked to have her vital third dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a session run by Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Vaccination Service at AFC Telford but when she turned up there was a huge queue.

“The queue was really long so I thought, crikey, they must be running late,” said Kate who had turned up on time just before 3pm with her 75-year-old husband David.

“But when we went to the front of the queue and wanted to get in on time for the appointment, we were told we needed to join the queue.”

She added: “Booking a slot turned out to be a pointless exercise.”

Being disabled with a bad back, a slipped disc and arthritis meant that Kate could not stand for long in the cold, rainy weather.

“I walk with a stick and have to sit down, so seeing a long queue with around 100 people and at least half an hour to stand around I decided I wasn’t really up to standing around. So we left, I lost my booking and we will have to try again.”

The couple were exasperated at having to make a 14-mile round trip to get the jab, especially as David had a more pleasant experience when he went for his booster at the same venue previously.

Kate added: "I definitely still want my booster jab but I don't want to get it there."

David, a retired former manager in Sandwell's NHS primary care was aghast at the way the vaccination centre had been organised.

"They had no regard for the elderly or vulnerable," he said.

"Lots of people would have just shrugged their shoulders and said it is one of those things, but I won't. We have complained. Whoever is managing this system should know it is useless.

"We won't put up with that."

A spokesperson from the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Vaccination Service, said: “We are seeing high volumes of people walking into our vaccination sites for a booster jab and we are pleased the public are keen to be protected over the winter months ahead.

"We would like to thank the public for their patience as our staff continue to work very hard to minimise the queues and vaccinate patients in a safe and timely manner.

“We are offering walk-in Covid-19 boosters, alongside booked appointments, to help accelerate the booster programme, making it accessible, easier and more convenient for people to get their jab. Helping to ensure everyone has the best possible protection against Covid-19.

“The public can now book their booster appointment from 152 days (5 months) after their second jab on the NHS website.

"However, please be aware that while you will be able to book your booster five months after your second jab, the appointment you will be offered will still have to be more than six months (182 days) since your second dose.

"Booking a month ahead of when you can have your vaccine will help enable us as a system to plan ahead more effectively, helping to reduce waiting times.

“In addition, to be able to accommodate the high volume of people coming forward for their vaccination, we are also looking at additional ways to increase capacity and reduce waiting times across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, particularly for our most elderly and vulnerable population.”

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