THERE were long queues for Covid booster jabs at a pop-up clinic in a Herefordshire town today (Sunday).

A line of people waiting for vaccinations at Leominster Community Centre stretched along Broad Street even before the clinic opened at 9.30am.

There was said to be traffic gridlock in the town at one point.

Taurus Healthcare, who were running the clinic, appealed to people via social media at 10.40am not to attend because there was insufficient capacity to do more vaccinations before closing time at 12.30pm.


One person who was there, Kath Crooks, said: "Leominster is in gridlock. The demand for the booster jab is strong in Herefordshire but the provision is inadequate."

"My clinically extremely vulnerable sister-in-law has had two appointments for her booster jab cancelled.

Meanwhile, Mark Lawrence said the queues were "indicative of not having an vaccination centres in Leominster for months. We want the booster but can't get it with closest centre in Craven Arms, Shropshire [20 miles away]."

Meg Cox said: "I saw the queue for the Leominster Community Centre drop-in before 09.30am. It was amazing and admirable: hundreds of people waiting patiently; all ages.

"But one thing we noticed was that nobody was wearing a mask except the volunteers who were helping."

Alison Taylor said she saw people in the queue who had travelled from Hay-on-Wye because when they had tried to book online they were only offered Malvern or Chepstow.

She said she waited in the queue for two hours after arriving just after 9am.

"Not everyone is able to travel to access boosters. Health or cost may be a problem.

"But this comment is in no way a reflection on the staff and volunteers who ran today’s clinic, who were doing a stirling job. Huge thanks to them."

Others were annoyed by the criticism.

Ray Churchill said: "People need to wind there necks in and stop whinging.

"Yes, I queued for threee hours and am I glad I did.

"Grow up and enjoy the blitz spirit!" he urged.

Sick of the rhetoric and media framing that people are resistant to getting their booster/covid vaccine. There are none to be had in the whole of Herefordshire...30+ miles is the closest offered. A pop up "grab a jab" in Leominster today had a queue of at least 500+

Taurus Healthcare said: "There has been a fantastic response to this morning's Covid booster jab clinic at Leominster Community Centre.

"However, there are hundreds of people in the queue and we do not have the capacity to vaccinate any more people before the clinic closes at 12.30pm.

"Please, therefore, do not go to the clinic as we will not be able to meet any further demand.

"Further clinics will be announced in the coming weeks.

"We are delighted by the keenness of people to get their booster vaccinations, which are an important element in our fight against the virus. Please bear with us and thank you for your understanding.

The clinic was offering a booster jab to anyone who had their second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine more than six months ago.

According to the NHS website, most people can now book a vaccination appointment online for a centre or pharmacy, go to a walk-in vaccination site or wait to be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery and book an appointment with them.

But in practice, people in Herefordshire have been finding it difficult to get appointments.

Some have been given appointments with GPs based miles away at clinics beyond Herefordshire.

Hereford and South Hereford MP Jesse Norman has taken up people's complaints with the NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and local GPs.

He said: "They have assured me that there is no lack of vaccine supplies. The problem has simply been to manage the huge local demands on services that are already highly stretched.

"In effect, there are three vaccine programmes under way at present. First is the rollout of booster vaccines, demand for which has been temporarily increased by the reduction in the gap required between jabs from six to five months. But then there is also the rollout of the original second Covid vaccines to younger age groups.

"And finally, there is the need to vaccinate large numbers of the population against flu, whose impact was light last year due to lockdown, but expected to be significantly greater over the next few months.

"Taken together, that's a pretty tall order, at an already busy time of year. Little wonder the vaccination centres are at full capacity.

"Appointments are listed on the national booking system as the supply becomes available, but these places are being taken quite quickly. Hence some people have been encouraged to get their jabs further afield."

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