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Covid-19 vaccination offered to Kent school teachers 'in error'

Potentially hundreds of school teachers in the county have been offered the Covid-19 vaccine due to an error in an online booking system, health chiefs have admitted.

Teaching staff in parts of east Kent believed they had been offered the chance to sign up for an appointment at a new vaccine centre at Kent's Canterbury cricket ground this week.

An error lead to teachers being offered the Covid-19 vaccine. Stock Image
An error lead to teachers being offered the Covid-19 vaccine. Stock Image

It comes after links to an East Kent Hospitals patient portal were spread among staff at dozens of schools - many of whom believed it to be a genuine offer.

It has been reported that vaccines were administered to many teachers who arrived for their appointments yesterday, before bookings began to be cancelled automatically.

While some teachers in Sittingbourne were offered the vaccine earlier this week to avoid supplies going bad and being wasted, it has been reported that these appointments involved fresh stock.

The Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) released a statement today admitting the mistake and clarifying guidance.

A spokesman said: "We have been informed that a link for health and care staff to book Covid-19 vaccines has been shared within some schools and via Whatsapp groups.

The jabs were offered at a new vaccine centre at Canterbury Cricket Ground. Picture: Andy Jones
The jabs were offered at a new vaccine centre at Canterbury Cricket Ground. Picture: Andy Jones

"The link was shared in error and we are clarifying this through messages to all school leadership teams."

According to government policy only those in the first phase of the priority group roll out, such as those aged 70 and over and frontline health workers, are entitled to the vaccine at the moment.

While many teachers are still working in schools to care for vulnerable children and those of key workers, they are not classed as frontline staff.

The statement continued: "If you see this link please do not use it unless you are definitely also either aged over 70, clinically extremely vulnerable, or a member of staff at special schools working directly with children with complex health needs.

"We understand that some people have booked in good faith following the circulation of this link through education channels.

"But we would ask than no one else books a vaccine appointment through this route unless you are in one of the groups above.

"Everyone will get the opportunity to be vaccinated"

"By making a booking you are depriving someone else who is in the priority groups, and therefore more at risk of death or serious illness, of the opportunity to be vaccinated.

"Everyone will get the opportunity to be vaccinated, but this is being done in line with a national priority list to vaccinate those most at risk first."

An anonymous source added: "The question now is, are the current vaccine appointments going to be honoured?

"We know that a number of teachers were vaccinated yesterday because they had these appointments, so you are going to have some who will say not honouring the other bookings will be unfair.

"It will be very interesting to see what the reason behind this error was."

Many seized the opportunity to book through the online portal which appeared to permit teachers and other key workers from booking a Pfizer jab.

Some, since learning of the error, say there is now no option to cancel the jabs booked.

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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