Housebound Norfolk great-grandmother cannot get her Covid booster vaccine

Joyce Griffiths has COPD but cannot get a booster jab because she is housebound and unable to get to a vaccination centre.
Joyce Griffiths has COPD but cannot get a booster jab because she is housebound and unable to get to a vaccination centre. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A housebound and medically vulnerable great-grandmother who cannot get a booster jab says she feels forgotten.

Joyce Griffiths, 69, has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and relies on a CPAP machine to deliver oxygen which she must use for most of the day.

While she was able to go to her doctor's surgery to get her first two Covid vaccinations, her health has since deteriorated and she is now housebound.

But despite being classed as medically vulnerable, she has been unable to get her booster jab.

Her doctor's surgery told her they were not able to carry out home visits while the 119 NHS telephone service for Covid vaccinations was also unable to help.

Grandmother and great-grandmother Mrs Griffiths, who lives in Great Moulton in Norfolk, said: "It feels as if I have been forgotten and I'm vulnerable because I can't get out to anywhere to get my booster."

Nearly two-thirds of housebound people - around 300,000 - have yet to receive their Covid boosters, according to leaked Whitehall data seen by The Telegraph.

Mrs Griffiths has not properly left the house in months while her husband David does little more than a trip to the shop.

The couple still see their daughter and Mrs Griffiths said she was terrified that Covid would make it into her house.

Mr Griffiths, who is in his 70s, said: "I worry all the time. It's frustrating when you get on to the authorities and you can't get any answer - what's going to be happening? How will it happen? There's nothing. Nobody has given us any answers."

Joyce Griffiths spends most of her day on a CPAP machine and cannot leave the house. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The booster programme began for the most vulnerable people back in September and, from Wednesday, anyone over 18 will be able to book a jab as long as it has been at least three months since their second vaccination.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to get everyone an offer of a booster by the end of this month amid warnings of a "tidal wave" of the Omicron variant and extra funding has been made available to GPs, pharmacies and primary care staff to increase capacity and encourage more visits to housebound people.

In a statement, the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) apologised for the delay and the anxiety it had caused Mrs Griffiths and her husband.

A spokesman said GP practices and "roving vaccination teams" were working hard to get to housebound patients as quickly as they could.

"We have increased the number of teams out on the road so we can do more home visits and provide more boosters more quickly, with additional teams set to deliver vaccines from next week," a spokesman said.

The CCG urged anyone able to make it to a vaccination with the aid of friends or family to do so, or to make use of community transport services.

"Housebound patients still waiting for a vaccine have not been forgotten - they will get their booster vaccination as soon as possible," the spokesman added.

NHS England has been contacted for comment.