At least 70 people fail to turn up for Covid-19 jab at surgery as vaccine is rolled out

At least 70 people failed to turn up for their Covid jab appointment at Len Valley surgery in Kent

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At least 70 people aged over 80 failed to turn up for their Covid jab appointments today as a second vaccination was rolled out across England.

Dozens of pensioners missed their Pfizer vaccination at scheduled appointments in Kent, it has been revealed.

It is understood there is only a two-hour window to find another patient before the precious vaccine becomes unusable.

Meanwhile, the Oxford AstraZeneca jab, which can be kept in the fridge, is being rolled out to hundreds of GP-run vaccination sites across the country today.

Despite efforts to roll out the Pfizer medicine, 70 people aged over 80 already missed their scheduled vaccination appointment at the surgery in Kent

NHS staff among those queuing for the vaccine in the bitter cold temperatures in Brighton, East Sussex this morning
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

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The Primary Care Network (PCN) at the Len Valley surgery in Harrietsham village is processing vaccinations on behalf of five practices.

It said no vaccines have been wasted to date thanks to quick thinking staff calling in other patients at short notice.

A spokesperson said: "The team rallied round and other patients took their place so no vaccine was wasted, thankfully.

"But when numbers like this fail to arrive and a call goes out to others waiting, it can cause unnecessary congestion at the site."

(Image: PA)

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The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at minus 70 degrees while the Oxford AstraZeneca jab is easier to administer since it can be stored at standard fridge temperature.

Seven mass vaccination centres will be launched next week in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Surrey and Stevenage.

PCN staff hope to raise awareness of the situation and to encourage patients who cannot make their slot to give as much notice as possible.

The no-shows come amid claims that some are yet to be offered the vaccine with others unable to get a vaccination slot or struggling to cancel appointments.

Raquel Red, whose elderly mother missed her appointment, said: "I phoned to cancel and could not get through and had to leave a message.

Practice nurse Marianne Stewart speaks with John Elphinstone before he receives the vaccine
(Image: PA)

A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Covid-19 vaccine
(Image: Getty Images)

"The reason for cancelling is that my mother is 83 with major underlying health and mobility issues.

"She relies on me for everything but when her vaccine date was due, I was told that my daughter had to self isolate so couldn't get my mum to the vaccine."

Wendy Hinds said her mother could easily miss her appointment since she is being contacted directly by the surgery despite having dementia.

She said: "Considering that many of the patients having the vaccination at this point will be elderly and a percentage of those will have memory issues or dementia, this doesn't surprise me in the least.

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"I'm registered as a carer for my mum at the surgery. She's diagnosed with dementia yet they still contact her directly with no back up for informing me.

"So she could easily miss her appointments as it's hit or miss if she tells me and she definitely wouldn't remember on her own.

"As far as I know she hasn't had an appointment arranged yet, but who knows?"

People queue for the vaccine
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

Scenes in Brighton this morning
(Image: Adam Gerrard / Daily Mirror)

Geoff Swift was also unable to cancel his mother's appointment when he struggled to get through to the centre by telephone.

He said: "I took my elderly mother to have her vaccine done recently at Harrietsham but I could not get hold of anyone on the phone prior to the appointment.

"I wanted to check about her penicillin allergy but the number just rang unanswered.

"I must have tried a dozen times over a couple of days, the reception people told me to email instead and I didn't get a reply from that either.

"I'm not excusing anyone that simply didn't turn up of course, but some might have had the communication issues I had."

Meanwhile staff at PCN are working "flat out" to administer the vaccine to the over 80s community.

Michelle Gardiner, of the public appointments section, said: "I know it is both a depressing and anxious time.

"The PCN team have really been working flat out to get this vaccine out across our 80 plus age range."

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