Booking in the first vaccinations for all housebound patients in Southwark within the next two weeks – but with no clear timeline for when these will be administered – is troubling.
This could mean that healthy over 40s are being offered their first jabs not long after some of the most vulnerable, elderly people, who rely on carers for their daily needs.
The fact that so many care staff and NHS workers are also turning down vaccines they were offered far earlier only adds insult to injury. And the fact that a healthy person in their 60s may have been vaccinated before a housebound elderly person just because they can travel to and from a centre is a scandal.
And the lack of information for families about why this is happening – and accountability – has shown how, yet again, disabled people and those with chronic conditions are often ignored and discriminated against in our society.
Although the vaccine rollout is a remarkable feat, something to celebrate, and gives us all the light we desperately need, glossing over the number of people who desperately want a vaccine but have yet to receive one is an insult to families who remain frantic with worry. Many of those unable to travel for vaccines cannot socially distance and need regular medical care. As restrictions ease through the roadmap, the risks will only increase.
We need a better understanding of why this is happening – and what the authorities are doing about it.