Eligible for vaccination but can't book appointment

This is so frustrating. I've been checking the coronavirus vaccination section of the NHS website occasionally to see if I'd become eligible yet for vaccination on grounds of clinical extreme vulnerability. Up until yesterday the message was that I wasn't. Last night though it changed and after inputting my details was offered a choice of four venues to book a vaccination. Great, you might think. BUT..... the nearest centre is seventeen miles away, I don't drive and current shielding advice is not to use public transport. However there was also a message saying to check again regularly as more centres are opening all the time.

So I looked again today but this time got a message saying I had missed my first appointment!! I didn't make an appointment. The moment I saw I was unable to attend any of the centres offered I clicked out of the website. Worried about being recorded as having missed an appointment I rang the 119 Covid helpline.

The woman answering was very helpful. I explained everything as above and she told me not to worry about it saying I'd missed an appointment as if I'd booked I'd have been texted a reference number which obviously I hadn't. She said I could check back on the website regularly without fear of being dropped off the system because it was wrongly assuming I'd missed appointments.

That was some relief but didn't address the problem of actually making an appointment. Her advice was to phone my GP surgery. So I did. Only to get a message saying if I was calling about vaccination to hang up and wait to be contacted. But as I'm clearly eligible now and haven't heard anything from my GP I am now concerned that I may not be registered on their system as being in the extremely vulnerable category.

It's also unlikely in the extreme that a mass vaccination centre will open anywhere near as there don't seem to be any appropriate venues. Nor is it likely that local pharmacies will start vaccinating as none of them (Boots included) look able to provide the social distancing necessary.

So here I am, eligible to book a vaccination but unable to do so and not heard anything from the one place (GP) I can get to without using public transport or asking a friend to drive me to. And I won't do the latter as it's impossible to have any kind of social distancing in the closed confines of a car for at least a half-hour there and the same back.

This really is Catch-22. I suppose I could ignore the 'hang up' message from the GP and tried that only to find myself number nineteen in the queue. Even if I got through I fear the receptionist's answer will be the same as the recorded message.

Sorry for the length of this post but if anyone has any ideas on how to break the logjam I really would appreciate it.

Comments

  • Bluepoint
    Bluepoint Member Posts: 4

    Can I ask if you have received your invitation letter? I don't think you can complete a booking without that even if you are now in one of the eligible groups. However, it is misleading and there is a great deal of conflicting advice about how people will be contacted. The rollout is patchy and in my area of Bedfordshire it is very slow. GPs surgeries here are the same will not take calls about the vaccine at all. If it helps lots of CEV people don't appear to have heard yet. Apparently if you have had a shielding letter you are in the system and will be contacted. Stress is very bad for arthritis and if you are feeling very anxious could you make an appointment with your GP on that basis without mentioning the vaccine?

  • scotleag
    scotleag Member Posts: 20

    Thank you. Yes, you can book before receiving the letter as you're entered into the system when the letter goes out and it can take up to a week to arrive. I was offered an appointment for tomorrow morning - well, THIS morning now.

    In the end I persevered to get through to the GP, was profusely apologetic to the receptionist and explained I was only calling because that's what the covid advice line said to do. They confirmed exactly what you say - that they have a list of people shielding and I'm on it. That was my worry - falling through the cracks. Being on one list but not another. So I'll be called in due course. I do know they started 75-79s over a week ago so when they get to 70-74, CEVs are included with that.

    Like you I know people in similar circumstances who have had the jab, others who have an appointment and some who haven't heard a thing. It's inevitable there will be discrepancies as some places will have a lot more elderly than others, some will have many more care homes, some will have large easily accessible centres, some will be in small very remote villages. But the way it's going it looks as if the target of the top four priorities is missed then it won't be by much. A week or so at most. And if anyone had said before Xmas that 15M would be vaccinated in the first two months of this year I think we'd all have happily settled for that.

  • Bluepoint
    Bluepoint Member Posts: 4

    Oh good for you hope it has set your mind at rest. As ever communication on this has been the weakest part. The few I know who have received the vaccine say it is very efficient at the point of delivery and they felt no ill effects. Best wishes.

  • duffer
    duffer Member Posts: 27

    I can sympathise - I have osteo and haven't been in a car or out of the house for more than a year. Unfortunately (what a whimp!) I also suffer from car sickness and vertigo. I have a wonderful carer once a week but the only jab I could get was on a Saturday and the carer company don't work on weekends.......not happy about using public taxis as the virus is very high here in Dorset. So.......I sit and wait and hope to get a home visit.......Helen.

  • scotleag
    scotleag Member Posts: 20

    Oh that's awful it being a Saturday only. Couldn't they re-arrange for a weekday. Agree absolutely re taxis.

  • scotleag
    scotleag Member Posts: 20

    Quick update. Surgery rang and booked me in for this Friday at local health centre. Delighted.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,667

    Brilliant! Best of luck 🤞

    Love

    Toni xxx
  • scotleag
    scotleag Member Posts: 20

    Thanks @frogmorton As you've seen elsewhere it went well. Oddly enough, official letter inviting me to book an appointment arrived same day as actual appointment

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,667

    Typical😁

    Glad it's done anyway!

    Love

    Toni xxx