Neighbours of Ashton Gate Covid vaccination centre being sent 50 miles way for jab

The centre has been operating as a regional hub since since January. Credit: Bristol Live

Those who live closest to the region's biggest vaccination centre in Bristol have spoken of their struggle to get a Covid jab.

It comes as those over the age of 40 are now eligible for the jab.

But despite living within walking distance of the hub at Ashton Gate Stadium, one man told Bristol Live he was instead directed almost 50 miles away when trying to book in for his jab.

The nearest available appointment for him on the NHS website was in Malvern in Worcestershire, which he is unable to get to as he does not drive.

Several other Bristol residents on social media have also reported being allocated appointments in Malvern, despite living within a couple of miles of the stadium.

Health services across the region are struggling to keep up with demand for the vaccine. Credit: PA

Health officials have asked people to "please bear with them" as slots are continually being updated, encouraging them to keep trying if they are unable to travel further afield.

One woman tweeted health secretary Matt Hancock on Tuesday 27 April: "I received my Covid vaccine text today.

"Was decidedly unexcited to discover the nearest available vaccination centre is nearly 50 miles away - despite my living within two miles of the enormous and much-touted Ashton Gate vaccination centre in Bristol."

Another Twitter user separately reported: "Zero luck so far trying to book a vaccine slot.

"First, no site in Bristol available (nearest was 45 miles away), then Ashton Gate becomes available but you try and book and all slots gone."

Appointments have been hard to come by at the Ashton Gate 'super hub' due to the demand for the vaccine. Credit: People in queues at Ashton Gate to get vaccine.

Earlier this month, the NHS website crashed as people rushed online to book appointments after eligibility for the jab had been expanded to include over-45s.

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed at the time it was releasing thousands of more appointments at Ashton Gate, in response to the demand.

'Please keep trying'

A spokesperson for the CCG said: "Nationally, supplies of first dose Covid-19 vaccine are lower at the moment.

"This means that when you are invited to book your appointment on the National Booking System or by calling 119, your closest available option may be further than you are able to travel.

"If this is the case, please try again as we are adding new appointments as soon as we receive vaccine supply."

People might also hear from their GP if they have slots available, the CCG said, asking people to wait to be contacted rather than to reach out to their surgery.

Health authorities are urging people to keep trying to get appointments for a jab. Credit: ITV News

The CCG spokesperson added: "In Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, we are working across our healthcare system to share the limited supply of vaccine across our GPs, community pharmacies and Ashton Gate Vaccination Centre.

"We understand that this may be frustrating.

"Please bear with us and rest assured that we are working tirelessly to vaccinate people as quickly as possible using every potential slot, and every dose of vaccine, as soon as we receive it."

Bristol City Council has also addressed the issue of vaccine supplies and the fact that available appointments could be outside of the city.

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