Long waits in 'freezing' conditions reported at Norwich vaccine centre

The Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

Lengthy queues and "freezing" temperatures have been reported at Castle Quarter vaccination centre in Norwich. Pictured is the centre in January 2021 - Credit: Danielle Booden

Patients have complained of lengthy queues and "freezing" temperatures at one of Norfolk's mass vaccination centres.

People arriving at Castle Quarter on Sunday were confronted with an "enormous" queue, resulting in waits of almost an hour for Covid jabs.

A sign pointing out the Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre. Picture: Danielle Booden

The large-scale Covid vaccine centre at Castle Quarter in Norwich, pictured in January 2021 - Credit: Danielle Booden

The delay was exacerbated further by an apparent lack of heating in the Norwich shopping centre, patients said. 

On Monday, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which is running Norfolk's large-scale sites, said the temperature had been "lower than anticipated" and was being rectified. 

One of those left with an uncomfortable wait was Wynne MacGregor, who lives in the city near Unthank Road.

While pleased to get an appointment close to home, Ms MacGregor, who is in her 60s and deemed clinically vulnerable, was shocked when she arrived at Castle Quarter.

"When I saw the enormous queue, I was really surprised," she said. "My health means I am not good at standing for long periods.

"Then it dawned on me how cold it was. It was absolutely freezing and it seemed there was no heating in the building whatsoever. 

Castle Quarter in Norwich where a vaccination centre has been set up in the food court. Picture: Dan

Lengthy queues and "freezing" temperatures have been reported at Castle Quarter vaccination centre in Norwich. Pictured is the mall in January 2021 - Credit: Danielle Booden

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"I was not the only older person there and I'm sure I wasn't the only vulnerable patient. The line was moving very slowly, so I ended up asking for a chair because I could not stand anymore. 

"I spoke to some volunteers who said they were really cold too, but couldn't do anything about it. They were telling us the wait was because they didn't have enough nurses."

Audrey Burton, 97, receiving her COVID-19 vaccination at the Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in No

A coronavirus vaccine is administered at Castle Quarter, Norwich, in January - Credit: Danielle Booden

Ms MacGregor said she was tempted to leave the queue and warm up in her car, but was fearful of losing her chance of a vaccine. 

After finally receiving a jab, she left the mall at 11.20am - around 50 minutes after her scheduled appointment.

Castle Quarter is one of four large-scale vaccination sites in Norfolk, with others in King's Lynn, Attleborough and North Walsham

Dr Christina Green at the Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in Norwich holding one of the vaccinatio

The Covid vaccine roll-out is gathering pace across Norfolk and Waveney - Credit: Danielle Booden

Addressing recent concerns, a spokesman for the Cambridgeshire trust said: "We are aware heating levels at Castle Quarter have been lower than anticipated in the last few days.

"We have brought in heaters to provide additional warmth and will keep this under review. 

"We can confirm there have been no significant staffing issues at the vaccination centre and apologise to anyone who had to wait longer than expected." 

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