NHS staff abused by people seeking second Covid jab early for holiday

Covid vaccinators are facing abuse, threats and aggression from people demanding their second jab early so they can go on holiday this summer, doctors have said.

In one incident, vaccination site staff were so concerned for their safety that they called the police, while some GP-led vaccination centres have had to hire security guards to protect them, the Guardian has learned.

Those involved appear to be “angry and frustrated” people who want to have their second Covid jab sooner than eight weeks after the first one – the official minimum gap – so they can go abroad.

One vaccination lead in the south-east of England said: “We’ve had a number of violent and aggressive incidents at sites, and even had to call the police, with people demanding their vaccine earlier than eight weeks.

“These incidents involved verbal abuse and aggressive and threatening behaviour. We have had to bring in security for our walk-in and ‘grab-a-jab’ sessions.”

A GP in London said: “Just the other day one of our volunteers was spat at, which was awful. We’ve had to hire security to deal with the abuse we’re getting.”

Another family doctor, in the north-east of England, said the vaccination site they helped to run had had to assign a nurse to work full-time talking to people who were seeking second jabs before the eight-week gap set down by the government’s advisory Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

“That’s one less clinician actually vaccinating people. Some people come back in day after day to every session waiting to see if there might be some leftover vaccines and asking again and again if we will give it earlier,” the GP said.

It is unclear how common such incidents are. But Ruth Rankine, the director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, 말했다: “We are hearing from our members that around the country people are coming to vaccination sites, often angry and frustrated, that they are unable to have their second dose of the Covid vaccines earlier than the recommended eight weeks.

“This is despite the JCVI guidance which says that second dose vaccinations should not be given any earlier than this. Our members are frequently spending a lot of time explaining this to the public, as well as telling them that a longer gap between doses has been shown to increase immunity,”그녀는 덧붙였다.

GP leaders fear that such unsavoury behaviour, especially by younger adults, could intensify following the government’s decision on Thursday to allow double-jabbed Britons to return from amber-list countries this summer without having to quarantine.

“Now that the government has announced that fully vaccinated holidaymakers will not have to quarantine when they come back to the UK from either amber or green list countries, and with many other countries only allowing people who have had two jabs to enter without having to quarantine, I think this will become an even bigger issue in the coming weeks,” said Rankine.

“This is especially going to be the case for younger people, many of whom will not be eligible for their second dose before September.”

She called on ministers to send “a much clearer message explaining to the public why they cannot receive the second vaccine dose before eight weeks, and that in waiting they are also helping to boost their immunity against Covid”.

The new approach on foreign travel will come into force from Monday 19 칠월, which Boris Johnson has called “freedom day”. That is the day on which most remaining restrictions on social mixing in England will be lifted, despite concern among many scientists that the move is dangerous and will lead to more infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

A vaccination lead in London said: “There’s significant pressure from the public to give second doses early. We’ve even received a formal complaint from someone who wanted to go on holiday.”

A Yorkshire GP said: “We’ve had quite a few foreign students wanting their second dose early as they are desperate to return home for the summer and see family.”

The Royal College of GPs and NHS England said the behaviour towards vaccinators was unacceptable and unfair, especially given their key role in protecting the public.

Prof Martin Marshall, the chair of the Royal College of GPs, 말했다: “It is understandable that people want to be fully vaccinated as soon as possible. But it is entirely unacceptable for anybody working on the Covid vaccination programme, be it in GP-led sites, mass vaccination centres or hospital centres, to be at the receiving end of verbal abuse and intimidation.

“This will likely have a serious and unfair impact on staff wellbeing and morale, when they are working hard to protect people from Covid-19 and help life get back to normal.”

NHS England’s “grab-a-jab” campaign, which began last month, aims to encourage eligible people to ensure they have their first or second jab as soon as possible, sometimes at sports stadiums or other venues. The Guardian disclosed last week that some vaccination sites had been administering second doses as little as three weeks after the first, especially of the Pfizer jab, often to young adults who want to protect themselves against the Delta variant, but also to would-be holidaymakers.

One scientist warned on Thursday that those receiving their second jab sooner than eight weeks may be less protected against Covid.

“There is what you might call a sort of sour point, where if you administer the second dose at about between six and seven weeks, you may actually have a much less effective boost than if you wait for eight weeks or more,” Prof Peter Openshaw, a member of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s medical director of primary care and a GP, 말했다: “Abuse of NHS staff – who have spent days, evenings and weekends protecting their patients and communities by delivering three-quarters of all life-saving Covid-19 jabs – is completely unacceptable. The NHS is vaccinating in line with JCVI guidance and has zero tolerance for bad behaviour towards any staff member.”

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