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Big queues as hundreds get Covid vaccine at clinic in Estuary View Medical Centre, Whitstable


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Traffic was at a standstill as hundreds flocked to a medical centre to get their Covid-19 jabs.

Long queues could be seen earlier today for the Estuary View Medical Centre, Whitstable, as eligible patients waited for vaccinations.

Traffic builds up as people queue for a Covid vaccine at Estuary View Medical Centre on Saturday. Picture: Gail Skingle
Traffic builds up as people queue for a Covid vaccine at Estuary View Medical Centre on Saturday. Picture: Gail Skingle

The centre aims to have all patients from the Whitstable Medical Practice aged 80 and over vaccinated by the end of the day.

As of midday, it had completed 600 inoculations - halfway to its 1,200 target.

It received an extra 975 vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab yesterday amid fears it would not have enough to take on the mammoth challenge earlier this week.

Dr John Ribchester, senior and executive partner at Whitstable Medical Practice, described how it was busier than expected and the wait time had reached up to 40 minutes.

He said: "It was busier than anticipated, and I apologise for the delay. One of our computer systems crashed, and some people were arriving before their appointment time.

Dr John Ribchester. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dr John Ribchester. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"We tried to counter it by putting on a sixth lane – we used a table and a laptop, stole a nurse form the urgent treatment centre and one of our managers helped with data entry.

"It did get busy but it should have calmed by now.

"I think we were very ambitious in our target, because we are very, very keen to immunise the population as soon as possible."

As of Thursday, the Whitstable team had so far inoculated more than 1,000 of its 2,500 over-80s patients at the drive-thru vaccination site.

Dr Ribchester added: "If we could get everybody over 80 immunised, as well as the care homes and health and social care workers to a large extent, it would be great step in the right direction.

The centre was originally used a flu-jab drive-thru. Picture: Barry Goodwin
The centre was originally used a flu-jab drive-thru. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"That was our ambition, to get everything done as safely and quickly as possible.

"We are desperate to try and immunise everyone as soon as possible.

"We have mobilised a huge volunteer effort made up of staff and community helpers to get this done.

"I'm sorry there was a delay, we may have overreached ourselves a little, but we are very keen to get as many people done as possible today."

One drive, who was caught in the congestion, took to Twitter with her take on the delays.

She wrote: "So heartened to see the cars full of people queuing for the drive in covid vaccine in Whitstable today.

"The best traffic jam I've ever sat in."

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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