Coronavirus vaccines 'being thrown away' after patient no-shows

11 January 2021, 18:45 | Updated: 11 January 2021, 19:33

By Patrick Grafton-Green

It is feared coronavirus vaccines are being thrown away because people are not keeping appointments to have them administered.

The vaccine developed by Pfizer must be kept at –70C when in storage and, once defrosted, can only be used over a limited time period.

If people do not turn up to appointments and alternative patients cannot be brought in at the last minute, doses of vaccine must be thrown away.

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It comes after MailOnline reported a hospital in West London was throwing away doses because people were not showing up.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation vice chair Professor Anthony Harnden told LBC’s Nick Ferrari the issue is “hugely detrimental” to the vaccination programme.

Prof Harden said, at the GP practice where he works, “not many didn’t turn up but if a few didn’t turn up we’d call people in at the very last minute.

“Of course people are very keen to get vaccinated but we were able not to have any wastage.”

He added: “So I would implore certainly these larger centres to have a think about that and be able to mobilise people as quickly as possible if other people don't turn up because every vaccine wasted is hugely detrimental to this programme”

A nurse at the West London hospital told MailOnline: “It's happening all over London, and probably right across Britain.

“Loads of people are not keeping the appointments their GPs have made for them. The trouble is the vaccine has to be given or it has to be thrown away.

“On Thursday night we had something like 45 people who were booked for jabs but didn't turn up, and didn't let us or their GP know in advance.

“Had we known they weren't coming, someone else could have been slotted in in their place.”

It comes as seven mass vaccination sites opened across England on Monday as the Government ramps up its vaccination programme.

The new centres - including at a football stadium and a tennis club - will be joined later this week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites.

Meanwhile, vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed on Monday that 2.4 million doses of vaccine have now been administered in the UK

This includes 400,000 second doses of a vaccine – meaning two million people have received the vaccine with 400,000 having finished the full course.