January 22, 2021

COVID-19: Elderly people in Newcastle told not to travel in snow to get vaccine jabs

January 14, 2021

Elderly people due to receive a coronavirus vaccine jab in Newcastle today have been told to rebook due to poor weather.

The city saw snowfall overnight and more is forecast later today.

Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said there was "no need to risk travelling in the bad weather".

"We're advising older people who are booked for their COVID-19 vaccine at the Centre for Life today to rebook for another day when the weather is better. It's easy to do by calling 119," it posted on Twitter.

Further south, a different problem has emerged, with one vaccination centre "frantically" trying to fill appointments following bad weather cancellations.

Lindsay Gollin, a practice manager in Leeds, tweeted: "Talking to 2 pts (patients) who walked for 1+ hour in the snow to get their Covid vaccine. We are frantically inviting - over 100 cancelled appts to fill as snow keeps people home."

The asymptomatic COVID testing centre at the city's university has closed because of "today's weather conditions", it said in a tweet.

Danielle McSeveney, a Sheffield GP, tweeted about the impact the weather posed: "Not helpful for our vaccination clinics weather!!! Really hoping we can't (sic) get enough people down to use all the vaccine before the end of tomorrow."

In nearby Gleadless, a medical centre posted a video encouraging people to come to vaccination appointments.

Heavy snow and freezing rain is set to hit the UK this week, with warnings issued over potential power cuts and travel delays.

Up to 20cm of snow was forecast to fall overnight in parts of northern England, while Scotland could see up to 30cm.

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for these areas, with forecasters warning some roads may be affected by deep snow, leaving vehicles stranded, while there was a "good chance" that some rural communities could become cut off.

Proof of the dangers facing motorists came from West Yorkshire Police, which warned on Twitter it had been "inundated" with calls about collisions due to snow.

The warning, stretching across an area from the Borders to the Highlands, was in place from 3pm on Wednesday to 10am Thursday.

Overnight temperatures are expected to drop as low as -7C (19F) in the east of England on Wednesday night and possibly -11C or -12C (10F-12F) in Scotland.

Met Office forecaster John Griffiths dismissed any link to the widely reported "Beast from the East 2", simply saying the conditions were "normal" for the winter weather cycle.

He said: "On Thursday a band of rain, sleet and snow will hit parts of Scotland and northern England, which will slowly extend south to the Midlands as the day progresses.

"It is expected to be very cold in these areas, dropping below 0C (32F) in Scotland and parts of northern England.

"This will start to gradually ease and die out during the evening, with frost and freezing fog coming in."

Mr Griffiths said Friday would "start cold and foggy", with most areas becoming dry and bright over the rest of the day.

A different picture prevailed in other parts of the country, with the Environment Agency issuing 19 flood warnings for England - where flooding is expected and immediate action needed - across much of the east of the country.

Almost 100 flood alerts, where flooding is possible, are also in place, with a further eight in Wales.

The affected area stretched from Northallerton in North Yorkshire to Ashford, Kent, along much of the east coast and as far west as Birmingham and Manchester.

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