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Covid vaccine hub at The Pentagon in Chatham under fire for turning away parents with children

A mass vaccination centre has come under fire for not allowing children to go in with their parents - with some saying it could delay them getting their Covid jab.

A woman from Medway shared her experience on social media after being told she could not go in for her appointment at The Pentagon in Chatham with her son.

Some people have been tuned away
Some people have been tuned away

She said: "Just a heads up for anyone attending the Pentagon for a vaccination…just been turned away as I had my seven year-old son with me and they will not permit any under 18s inside the vaccine centre.

"There’s nothing anywhere advising this when you make your booking or even at the entrance so thought this could be useful info with the summer holidays so people can arrange childcare or change appointments.

"They were very strict on this so hope this post could save someone a wasted journey."

She said during the time she was there, only a few minutes, she saw four others also being turned away.

The mass Covid vaccine centre inside the Pentagon in Chatham
The mass Covid vaccine centre inside the Pentagon in Chatham

She added: "I did say to the the man on the door I had no problem with the reasons, I just wished they would make people aware upon booking so they can make necessary arrangements for their children."

Her post online raised concerns about what people are supposed to do in the school holidays if they cannot get childcare - and they don't want to have to wait longer for their jab.

One woman said: "That's ridiculous, what do they expect us to do with our kids when they are on summer holidays. I will be taking my baby and seven yr old to mine as my husband will be working and can't get anything else for ages."

People seem to have had different experiences at the centre. One mum said they rang in advance to check but after being told it would be OK for her child to attend, was then not allowed in because the child was not in a buggy.

Another said she was turned away even though her three-year-old was in a pushchair.

Some parents are worried the issue will mean a delay in getting their vaccine
Some parents are worried the issue will mean a delay in getting their vaccine

The Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust which runs the mass hub said parents should not be turned away with their children.

Clive Tracey, operational lead for Kent and Medway large vaccination centres, said: “Our aim is to vaccinate as many people as we can to protect them and others from Covid.

"Although we prefer people to attend appointments alone to limit the number of people inside vaccination centres, we understand it is not always possible, especially for those with young children and it is our policy to make allowances for parents and guardians.

“For safety reasons, younger children should be seated in a buggy as staff are not able to supervise them while parents are having their jab.”

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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