Diabetic, 82, told to travel 230 miles and woman, 83, urged to change GP to get jab

Pamela Harvey decided not to get the vaccine after being told to travel to Birmingham or change GPs (Image: Supplied)

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An 82-year-old man was told to make a 230 mile round trip to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Another person in the extremely vulnerable list was urged to either drive 35 miles into Birmingham or change GP to get the jab, prompting them not to bother.

The advice, which was given by official NHS 119 operatives, appears at odds with the spirit of stay at home orders put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

On Monday vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the aim of the new mass vaccination centre programme was to ensure no-one was "more than a 10-mile radius” away from one of the centres.

David Blocksidge told The Mirror how his dad James had been keen to get the vaccine as quickly as possible having not seen his grandkids for months.

Have you been told to travel a long distance for your jab? Email [email protected]

People from Telford have been told to travel to Birmingham to get the jab
(Image: PA)

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On Saturday the 82-year-old diabetic received a letter from the NHS inviting him to call or go online to book an appointment.

When James' daughter ran up 119 on his behalf she was told he should travel to Bristol for the jab – 115 miles away from his Telford, Shropshire home.

David said: "As he has a supportive family around him, we were able to suggest that he didn’t book an appointment at Bristol and await a local appointment.

"However, I’m concerned that over 80’s who do not have his level of support would, in their eagerness to get a vaccine, try and travel for miles to do so.

"This is at a time when clear guidance is to stay at home.

"Whilst my dad drives -but he would not have the confidence to drive down the M5 to Bristol – many octogenarians will not so would rely on relatives to drive them to these appointments.

The advice has left some people ensure of what to do (file photo)
(Image: JACOB KING/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

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"Surely this cuts across current guidance not to mix households."

He added: "It’s clearly positive that mass centres are being created and well done to the NHS for this but please issue clear guidance to the vulnerable groups."

James is yet to receive an alternative option to the Bristol trip and is currently awaiting a local appointment.

Pamela Harvey, also from Telford, called up 119 on January 9.

"She was advised on the phone she either changes doctors or travel to Birmingham which is over 30 miles away," her grandson Simon Calyton said.

"This caused her to panic and stress, because she never been asked to change doctor and to travel to Birmingham would require my father to take her.

"This alone breaks lockdown rules as it would require to leave our county."

Seven new mass vaccination hubs have opened across England
(Image: JOE GIDDENS/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Simon described the offer as "lunacy", given that Telford is soon to have its own vaccination centre.

Pamela has now decided she will not get the vaccine.

A woman from Telford, who asked not to be named, said her 92-year-old granddad did make the 35 mile journey to Birmingham for the vaccine.

Under lockdown rules travelling away from your help for medical reasons is permitted.

As part of the NHS's race to vaccinate as many people as possible, seven new mass hubs have opened in England.

They are at Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre where London's Nightingale hospital is based, Newcastle's Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham's Millennium Point.

NHS England has said the centres were chosen to give a geographical spread covering as many people as possible.

On Monday Downing Street said people should not take up appointments if it’s too far for them to travel and could “wait for a local appointment if they prefer.”

The Prime Minister's spokesperson said: "GPs are providing a large number of vaccinations to the local communities…and those who have received the letter that wish to wait for a local appointment, that is ok."

He said: "We will ramp up and open more vaccination centres as the weeks progress, as has always been our plan."

And he added: "It's obviously a matter of individual choice…If people want to wait and have a vaccine more locally, they can do."

NHS England was contacted for comment.

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