Published: 06:00, 05 February 2021
| Updated: 10:24, 05 February 2021
A pensioner invited for a Covid vaccine was left baffled when the NHS booking service directed him to the North Sea for his jab.
David Mitchell, from Birchington, received a letter from NHS England inviting him to book his injection at a pharmacy as a part of a national programme to speed up the roll-out.
But when he investigated further, one of the first places he was offered was in Swindon, said on the booking page to be 23.1 miles away, rather than the actual 153 miles.
Confused, the 76-year-old clicked on the link to a map on the page, only to be given directions to the North Sea, off the coast of north Kent.
"I thought about phoning the Coastguard to see if they would fly me there," he said.
"No wonder we're getting confused.
"I hope they'll be able to find the top of my arm when it's my turn to get the vaccine."
Mr Mitchell says he will wait his turn for the jab, but thought he'd have a look at what the booking process was through the NHS England system.
"I went to the website and read all the preamble then got to the bit where you enter your postcode," he said.
"Then it takes you to a page with a whole list of pharmacies.
"I was surprised to see there were none listed as being in Thanet.
"On reading through the list, after Folkestone the next nearest was in Swindon.
"But it was marked as just 23.1 miles away which I thought can't be right. When I clicked on the directions, it was linked to the Ordinance Survey eastings and northings, and showed a location 23 miles off the north Kent coast.
"It's crazy that no-one seems to be checking these things."
It is not the first time people needing Covid-related services have been offered appointments miles away from home.
In September, when the first test centres opened, people were being told to travel hundreds of miles - despite the site in Manston being virtually empty.
Those attempting to book an appointment at the test centre on the former airport site through the government's online booking service were being given slots in Edinburgh, some 470 miles away, or Harwich Port, 130 miles up the coast in Essex.
NHS England has been approached for comment.