Two London clinics have blamed administration and computer errors for accidentally offering the Covid-19 vaccine to young, healthy people.
A patient from one clinic in Tower Hamlets got in touch with the Guardian to express their “disbelief” at being invited for a vaccine, along with a flatmate, despite being in their 30s and not classed as extremely clinically vulnerable.
Both phoned their GP to check it was not a mistake and say they were told the invitation was legitimate and that they were free to book, which they then did. Each received the vaccine last week at the Cable Street surgery in Limehouse.
“We were in disbelief. Both healthy and in our 30s. I called the GP to check this was legitimate – we thought surely it was an admin error. When I got through the receptionist said I wasn’t the first person to call and she would check and confirmed it was legitimate,” said one patient.
“Of course I am extremely grateful to be in this position but it does feel a little under the table given the over 70s and vulnerable I know still waiting in other parts of the country,” they added.
In England, only four groups of people are currently eligible for the vaccine: those over 70, care home residents, health and social care workers, and the extremely clinically vulnerable.
But in the west London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, about 100 young people were erroneously offered the vaccine, the Guardian understands. None actually received it.
Another Guardian reader got in touch to say their 22-year-old daughter was invited to book her first vaccination from her GP at Hammersmith and Fulham. “She called the surgery and they told her that they had already vaccinated everyone in the vulnerable category (which seems hard to believe). She did not attend because she is currently at home in Devon but was told she could come back anytime and book an appointment for the vaccine,” they said.
Both clinics confirmed they had invited young people to be vaccinated, but said it was a mistake.
In Tower Hamlets, Omar Din, the chief executive of AT Medics, the primary care provider for Cable Street surgery, said: “Recent national changes in the way medical records are coded (moving from Read codes to SNOMED coding) has contributed to some patients being erroneously included in high-risk groups. This only affects a small number of overall patients.
“If patients find they are being recalled and are otherwise fit and healthy, we would encourage them to contact their registered GP practice and to have themselves removed from the invited group, to allow those who are currently eligible to be vaccinated first.”
In Hammersmith and Fulham, a spokesperson for the North West London Collaboration of clinical commissioning groups said: “We are aware of a small number of cases where an individual has been invited for a vaccine when they are not part of one of the current priority groups. This has been identified by the practice and all appointments have now been withdrawn with apologies.”
Source: The Guardian