Changes to Covid vaccine appointments causing 'confusion' among elderly

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Mary Stanley

The National Pensioners' Convention says that changes to the timetable surrounding coronavirus vaccinations have left many vulnerable, older people confused. 

Many have had their second jab appointments cancelled as health authorities try to vaccinate as many people as possible.

In a statement, the NPC says: "The NPC would like clarification on the timescale change which has confused many older people, and to know if the government is planning to reinstate the invaluable package of support measures they introduced in March 2020 for the clinically vulnerable who are shielding at home."

92-year-old Peter Millard from Southampton is said to be clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid, so he and his family were overjoyed when he had his first dose of vaccine before Christmas.  

His second dose was due on Saturday 9 January, but his appointment was cancelled by letter 4 days ago, after the Government changed the length of time between doses from 3 to 12 weeks.  

His wife Iris says: "I just wanted him to have that complete vaccination so that it was complete, so I knew he would be alright."

92-year-old Peter Millard from Southampton (centre) with daughter Heather (left) and wife Iris (right). Credit: ITV News Meridian

Peter's daughter Heather says she believes the government are playing 'Russian Roulette' with older people.

"Because they do not know what the reaction is going to be for them not having it [the second dose] within the guidelines of Pfizer."

Heather Grant has managed to get her father's appointment reinstated, but is demanding the Government to deliver on promises as Covid cases continue to rise.

Meanwhile a carer from Peacehaven told ITV News Meridian that her at-risk parents still haven't been contacted about when they will be vaccinated.

Melody Martin says: "There are people who do not have access to the internet, are unable to use the phone to get through to the surgery, I think letters need to go out to people giving them a time, giving them a date of when this vaccine is going to be available."

The Government describes the vaccine rollout as an 'unprecedented challenge'.  But there are concerns about vaccine supply. There are now calls for more pharmacies to be used to speed up the process.

Sandra Gidley from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society says: "A lot of people trust their local pharmacist and if you want to vaccinate as many people as possible to tackle this virus, you need to use every weapon in the armory."

On the NHS website, it states: "The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then."

More information on the vaccine can be found on the NHS website here.