Vaccination staff face abuse amid booster confusion

A worker hangs a direction sign to the NHS Covid Vaccine Centre.

There are reports that vaccination staff have face abused following confusion over who can receive a booster dose of the Covid vaccine. - Credit: PA

Vaccination staff are facing instances of abuse following confusion around who is eligible for a Covid booster jab.

Third vaccines are still unavailable for those not eligible with the forthcoming widening of criteria not yet in place.

But today there was confusion in Norfolk over who is eligible for the third dose after it was announced on Monday, November 29, that everyone older than 18 would be offered a booster.

The uncertainty led to people being turned away from vaccine centres.

Dr Anoop Dhesi , local GP and clinical chair at NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: "We are hearing of instances of frustration and abuse aimed at the staff working in our vaccination sites and GP practices and this is simply unacceptable.

"They are just doing their job in line with the national guidance and phased roll out we have to work to.

"We will not tolerate any abuse, verbal or physical, towards our staff. We will not hesitate to involve police where staff feel threatened or unsafe in their workplace.

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"We understand people want to get a vaccine as soon as possible but our staff can only vaccinate those who are currently eligible."

Centres in Norfolk are awaiting further guidance from NHS England before providing those outside of the current eligibility criteria with another vaccine dose.

Dr Dhesi added: "We cannot open up boosters to additional groups until the new clinical guidance is in place. This is for everyone’s safety and protection.

"We have to work through the age groups in order to ensure those most at risk from Covid-19 are given a booster first, so they are as protected as possible before we go into winter.

"As the colder weather hits over the coming months it is vital that we prioritise the protection of those most vulnerable to respiratory infection."

Currently only those over 40, people who live and work in care homes, frontline health care workers, the clinically vulnerable, and those over 16 living with someone immunosuppressed can get a booster.

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