March 01, 2021

COVID-19: Three hospitals criticised for not vaccinating vulnerable inpatients

January 23, 2021

Vulnerable inpatients who are eligible for a COVID-19 jab are not being vaccinated in at least three hospitals in England.

Sky News has seen evidence of hospitals telling the families of elderly non-COVID patients that they are only vaccinating outpatients, and not those staying overnight.

Some 17.5% of COVID-19 patients caught the virus in hospital, according to analysis from the Daily Telegraph.

Maria Thompson's 80-year-old mother has been in Merseyside's Whiston Hospital with an autoimmune disease for more than a week.

"The hospital has given my mum wonderful care", Ms Thompson said.

"But as a family we have been really worried about my mum being in hospital. She has come into contact with more people in 10 days than she has in the past 10 months."

St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust has not responded to a request for comment, but in a message to Ms Thompson, a staff member confirmed: ''We are not yet vaccinating inpatients".

They cited challenges moving the Pfizer vaccine around the hospital, and concerns about recording who had received the jab.

In Northampton, a relative (who wished to remain anonymous) told Sky News of the case of his 85-year-old father, who has been in the town's hospital with non-COVID health problems for more than five weeks.

He will soon be discharged to a care home.

"The doctors and nurses have been brilliant. But as you can imagine given dad's age, health and location we were very keen for a COVID-19 vaccination pre-discharge. Apparently it isn't hospital policy," he said.

"It's a massive burden discharging him into a care home without the comfort of this protection, especially now knowing that home had multiple deaths in November."

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Northampton General Hospital have declined to comment, but in a message to the relative, the trust's chief executive Deborah Needham wrote: "Unfortunately we are not currently vaccinating inpatients as we are unable to book them in & have them back on site for the second vaccine."

However, Ms Needham indicated the situation was under review.

Sky News understands inpatients at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge are also not being vaccinated. The hospital has not responded to a request for comment.

NHS England have also been contacted, but have yet to provide a response.

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