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Health board chair slams alleged Covid vaccination ‘queue jumpers’

23 Jan 2021 2 minute read
Covid-19 vaccination. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter

Betsi Cadwaladr’s chairman has criticised Denbighshire council staff for potentially “depriving someone else” of a Covid jab after vaccination invites were shared around by colleagues.

It was alleged this week some council staff, not within the first two cohorts due the vaccination, managed to book appointments by following a link in an email only intended for the recipient.

Denbighshire council said it had warned staff the emails were not to be abused, although it’s not clear whether anyone not entitled succeeded in getting a Covid jab.

Only frontline social care and health workers, those over 80 years old, care home residents and their carers are currently being vaccinated.

Independent member Jackie Hughes brought the matter up at Thursday’s monthly health board meeting.

Answering her query, executive director of primary care and community services, Dr Chris Stockport, said:

“We are very clear with our local authority partners and teams of what frontline means in the same way we are elsewhere.

“When you arrive (for a vaccine) there’s a process of validation. The likelihood is they will experience some difficulties working through the booking system (if they try to get into a higher vaccination cohort).

“It adds complications for a busy team and I would ask them not to do that when it’s a clear effort to circumvent the cohort.”

‘Looking out’

Mr Polin added: “Whilst we understand the concerns people should not be doing what they are doing.

“The priority groups have been identified with clear medical guidance and sound reasoning behind it.

“So people jumping the queue are depriving someone else, potentially, of receiving the vaccine at the point at which they should.

“This is a temporary problem because we are changing the booking system, so this opportunity is not going to last much longer.

“I know having visited our mass vaccination centre on Deeside our staff are looking out for any inappropriate bookings by staff from any organisation.”

Dr Stockport added: “Many of these people are entitled to be in cohort two – but they should use the correct booking system.”

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