Elderly people have been queuing in the cold to receive the Covid-19 vaccine with wait times of up to three hours at a Lewisham GP surgery today.
The Jenner Health Centre on Standstead Road, Forest Hill, began vaccinations today for all patients aged 80 and over.
Andrew Richards had an appointment for his mother at 12 noon but was told it would be a 3 hour wait outside in the queue.
Mr Richards said: “They have a tough job there but as soon as my mum heard they were getting a batch, I knew it was going to be busy.
“There must have been between 300 and 400 people in the queue.
“Some of them looked really fragile and frail, standing around with blankets around them.
“My mum’s appointment was supposed to be 12 noon but when we got there they said it was going to be a three-hour wait.
“We had to go straight back home because my mum cannot stand for more than a few minutes.
“The queue was about 150-200 yards long. They looked like refugees standing around in the cold.
“My uncle has just come out of Lewisham hospital having cancer treatment and he had an appointment – I told him not to go because it would take hours to get in.”
A video, circulating on the social media platform Facebook, showed the queues stretching around the carpark and spilling out onto the street.
Many patients could be seen sitting on garden furniture or using walking sticks to lean on.
The queues continued all day until closing time.
David Hitchcock, whose 85-year-old sister was seen in 15 minutes, said: “I can confirm that I personally witnessed a long queue at the Jenner but it appears they managed to get extra help and opened up more rooms and by 4pm the appointments were basically being seen on time which continued until closing time.
“It was the first day of vaccinations at the Jenner and there were bound to be hiccups, especially as they were vaccinating people from a number of GP surgeries in the area.”
A spokesperson from NHS South East London CCG said: “This was early on the first day of our new programme and we have now already increased the number of staff giving vaccinations along with asking patients to arrive no more than 5 minutes before their slot.
“We will be contacting the small number of patients who had an appointment yesterday and weren’t vaccinated to ensure they are seen this week.”
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.