Here's why people were "turned away" following big turnout at Preston drop-in vaccination clinic

A vaccine centre which issued an open invite to all adults wanting a jab was so overwhelmed with demand this morning that they had to turn people away.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:43 pm

"Hundreds" of people flocked to Preston's Grasshoppers rugby club this morning as its vaccination centre began offering walk-in Covid jab appointments.

But people began being turned away after lunchtime, when the vaccination centre, operated by the Broadway Pharmacy group, said it had "reached capacity" just hours after opening.

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No more walk-in vaccines at Preston Grasshoppers as clinic reaches capacity

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"Hundreds" were thought to have turned up for their vaccine without an appointment this morning, May 12

Passers-by saw "hundreds" of people lining up outside the sports centre, on Lightfoot Green Lane, for their jabs this morning.

The Post understands that 800 surplus jab doses were available to anyone over the age of 16 in today's drop-in centre, with no appointment needed.

32-year-old Annalise Bishopp from Penwortham, was one of the lucky people who spotted the post on social media last night, May 11, and decided she would chance a visit this morning to get her first dose.

Within half an hour she had queued up outside the centre, been given her jab and was on her way back home.

The Grasshoppers Rugby Club has been operating as a vaccine centre since December last year

She told the Post: "I only found out late last night about the drop-in centre and I wasn't sure if it was legitimate or not. So I took the chance and I turned up this morning at around 8 am to see a queue of around 20 people who were already lining up for their jabs.

"It was a really quick and smooth process. There was nothing to worry about, they asked me questions about my health and allergies and by the time I walked out after getting my jab there wasn't anyone in the queue, so I made sure to tell some of my friends to come down for their vaccine.

"I just really wanted to get it done - the quicker everyone gets vaccinated, the quicker this is all going to be over.

"You have to take these kinds of opportunities when they come up because it could have been a couple more months until my age group is called forward for the jab, so I didn't want to miss my chance."

Patients are given their jab in private booths

The pharmacy had announced the drop-in clinic would be offering the surplus doses of the Pfizer vaccine between the hours of 8.30 am and 1 pm and again from 2.30 pm to 8 pm.

But by as early as 1 pm, it announced that it was no longer giving out jabs without appointments after being "overwhelmed" with the demand, meaning those queuing up were then turned away.

The vaccines were to be given on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the clinic had been hoping to stay open until 8 pm to accommodate as many people as possible.

On social media, one disappointed user wrote: "I drove 45 minutes to get there at 1.30 to queue for the afternoon walk-in session and was turned away Very happy people are getting their jabs though, keep up the good work."

Another said: "My husband queued from 11:30, he was told to come back at 2 pm and now its cancelled."

And another admitted that they were so desperate for their first jab, they had just paid a £50 taxi fare before finding out there were no more doses to give out.

Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 Vaccination Director for Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “In Lancashire and South Cumbria, NHS staff and partners are working tirelessly to deliver the lifesaving vaccination to those most at risk of the virus as soon as possible.

“If you’re eligible for the vaccine please do book your appointment as soon as you can, so that you can join the millions of others who are helping to protect themselves and others."

“The NHS is vaccinating in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as supply allows, guided by the principles of minimising wastage, reducing inequality of access, and maximising pace."

Broadway Pharmacy told the Post that nobody was available to comment today.

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