Over-80s can ignore mass invite and wait for local vaccination, says MP

Elderly people in the West Midlands have been told they can ignore letters inviting them to travel more than 100 miles to get their Covid jab at mass vaccination centres.

A mass vaccination centre has been set up at the ExCel Centre in London
A mass vaccination centre has been set up at the ExCel Centre in London

Over-80s across the region have received letters from the NHS instructing them to book a spot at one of the country's mass vaccination centres.

They include London's ExCel centre, which is 130 miles away from Lichfield, and the Etihad Campus in Manchester, a two hour journey of more than 80 miles.

They would also have to return to the same site after 12 weeks for a booster jab.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant urged people concerned about travelling long distances to ignore the letter, as local vaccination clinics will be allocated in the coming weeks.

He said: "As these mass vaccination centres are some distance away, I can well understand the concern this is causing.

"However, if you do not wish to respond to the letter, or you have not received it for any reason, do not despair!

"You will be contacted again by your GP surgery within a couple of weeks or so and be allocated a local vaccination clinic.

"In Lichfield, that will be at the cathedral. You must keep safe in the meantime and remember that once vaccinated, it will still take two to three weeks to build up any immunity to Covid-19 and you could still be infectious to others.

"It is very important that you attend the same clinic for a booster vaccination which will then give longer lasting immunity."


Mr Fabricant added: "I am very disappointed that all this has not been made clear in the letter sent out by the national NHS and I am sorry if this has caused any alarm."

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Those who receive the letter do not have to take one of those appointments if it is too far to travel, and can wait for a local appointment if they would prefer.”

NHS England said that over-80s can ignore the letter if they would prefer to wait to be invited to attend a hospital or GP service for their vaccine.

There are currently nearly 800 GP-led services, from where the majority of jabs are expected to be delivered.

In Staffordshire 51,000 people have received the Covid vaccine so far. By the end of this week, more than half of those scheduled to be vaccinated by the middle of next month are on target to have received the jab.

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