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Elderly Disabled Forced to Queue Outside in Cold For Delayed Vaccinations

Published on: 12 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 14 Jan, 2021

Covid Vaccine Photo Hakan Nural

By Julie Armstrong

local democracy reporter

Elderly disabled people had to queue outside in temperatures close to zero on Friday (January 8) at the Covid vaccination station in Woking.

One woman in her 80s, who had “kept to the rules for nearly a year now”, venturing outside only to get her flu jab, said she was also dismayed to find herself in a waiting-room she felt was “overcrowded”, after the delays.

But she will return for her second dose. “There are certain things in life we have to do and this is one of them.”

The Byfleet octogenarian, who did not want to be named, said she had waited outside McLaren’s Victoria Gate office in the “freezing cold” for 20 minutes with others aged over 80, some in wheelchairs and some on double walking sticks. Chairs had been brought out after 10 minutes, she said.

“On a dark January evening, we were talking among ourselves saying what a good job it wasn’t raining or blowing a gale,” she said. “If it was youngsters on a school trip OK, but all were over 80.”

Even when she got into the building she had to wait again because they were calling for someone with an appointment 40 minutes earlier than hers. She was told this was because of IT problems.

The lady has written to Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England and chief medical adviser to the government, telling him about her experience.

Her letter reads: “I have been so careful in this lockdown and in Tier 4 have stayed at home. To then be put at risk.”

She said later: “I am very grateful to everyone in the NHS and all the support helpers. Everyone at the vaccination centre was doing their best, they were brilliant at coping with the situation.

“They said they had IT problems, which would explain the hour-long queue.

“To manage mass vaccination will have teething problems, but this was well into their second week.”

A spokesperson for NHS Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are aware of a technical issue that affected the Woking vaccination site at Victoria Gate, which unfortunately led to some delays for people waiting to be vaccinated.

“This issue has now been resolved and we apologise to anyone who waited longer to receive their vaccine on this day.

“Safety is paramount and we have robust measures in place at every site to ensure the vaccination programme is being delivered safely and in line with the national programme.”

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Responses to Elderly Disabled Forced to Queue Outside in Cold For Delayed Vaccinations

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    January 13, 2021 at 10:01 am

    There is a letter in today’s Daily Telegraph, telling of the experiences of a 90-year-old kept waiting for five hours at the Epsom Downs centre. In the end, she went home without getting the jab. The whole system is not fit for purpose.

    Another letter says that at one doctor’s surgery in Reading they have already vaccinated everyone on his list over 70. It seems that the organisation of the vaccine roll-out is totally incompetent.

  2. John Gillam Reply

    January 13, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    My wife and I visited the Mclaren vaccination site in Woking on Tuesday, January 12 and experienced the complete opposite to the 80-year-old lady in the story.

    We were that impressed with the whole operation we have sent a letter to our MP (Jonathan Lord) praising all staff at the site for their dedication in this tragic affair, asking him to convey our grateful thanks to everyone involved.

  3. Georgina Grant Reply

    January 14, 2021 at 2:20 pm

    A healthy 74-year-old friend in Eastbourne has already had her jab, yet over 80s in this area are still waiting to hear. There seems to be no logic in the rollout. I just hope the much-vaunted Superdrug and G Live venues get through the waiting list quickly for the sake of the most vulnerable.

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