Pensioners queue outside in freezing cold to get Covid vaccine

A GP surgery has apologised after elderly patients had to queue outside in freezing conditions to get their coronavirus vaccines. Large queues were pictured outside Kingswood Health Centre in Bristol on Saturday [Jan 2), with reports of people waiting for more than an hour in sleet and snow. Caption: A queue of patients waiting to get the coronavirus vaccine at Kingswood Health Centre in Bristol on 2 January 2021
Elderly patients queue up outside Kingswood Health Centre in Bristol (Picture: Bristol Live/BPM)

A GP surgery has apologised after elderly patients were forced to queue outside in the freezing cold to get their Covid vaccines.

Pensioners reportedly waited for more than an hour in sleet and snow outside Kingswood Health Centre in Bristol.

The surgery said they vaccinated 1,100 people on Saturday and couldn’t keep more people waiting inside because of social distancing.

One woman said she and her 82-year-old husband, who has dementia, waited for an hour and 25 minutes as snow and sleet rained down.

The 75-year-old carer said: ‘There must have been about 150 people in the queue.

‘They were all elderly, many with walking frames and sticks, and they were queueing from the doors of the health centre around the car park.’

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She said they arrived at about 11.50am for her husband’s 12pm appointment, but had to wait until 1.20pm to get the vaccine.

The retired occupational therapist acknowledged the difficult logistics of rolling out the vaccine, and spoke of her admiration for the doctors and nurses who organised the clinic at short notice.

A GP surgery has apologised after elderly patients had to queue outside in freezing conditions to get their coronavirus vaccines. Large queues were pictured outside Kingswood Health Centre in Bristol on Saturday [Jan 2), with reports of people waiting for more than an hour in sleet and snow. Caption: A queue of patients waiting to get the coronavirus vaccine at Kingswood Health Centre in Bristol on 2 January 2021
The pensioners were queueing around the car park to get their Covid vaccines (Picture: Bristol Live/BPM)

She said: ‘I know it’s Christmas and I appreciate that it’s very difficult, and the situation is one we’ve not experienced before so surgery staff are working blind, having to make up the rule book as they go along.’

But she said there was no communication about how long the wait would be.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Kingswood Health Centre said: ‘Today our four practices managed to vaccinate over 1,100 patients.

‘We were given notice to deliver this clinic on Tuesday. The vaccine was delivered on Thursday and had to be used up by Sunday. Due to the Bank Holiday, today was our only option to set up the clinic.

‘Staff from across the four practices gave up their free time to book patients in and support the clinics today. This was all at very short notice after already having an incredibly difficult year.

‘Unfortunately in the morning we experienced long queues for patients waiting to come in. Every single room in the health centre was being used to vaccinate and we were unable to move patients through any quicker.

‘Social distancing meant we couldn’t keep more people waiting inside the building. As we saw the queue growing we called in extra staff to help out, and thankfully by the afternoon session we managed to get the wait down to 20 minutes.

‘We apologise if people had to wait a long time in the morning. As with all new things, we will review our model and look to improve it.

‘This is new to all of us and we are doing our absolute best to vaccinate as many patients as we can and not waste any vaccine.

‘Despite the issues we experienced today, we still managed to vaccinate a significant number of patients in our area and for that I am immensely proud of my team.’

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Bristol – Metro