One Nurse has recently spoken out, admitting that they have no choice but to bin coronavirus vaccine doses when patients neglect to show up for their appointments.
With countries all over the world scrambling to secure enough doses for their populations you’d think it would be unthinkable to throw the jabs away.
But sadly this is the reality.
Why throw away the doses?
This year mass injection centres have begun to be rolled out across the UK in order to ensure that as many people as possible get their first dose. However, it seems that many people haven’t been honouring their appointments.
One West London nurse spoke to the Daily Mail anonymously and admitted that when people don’t show up for their appointments the doses have to be thrown away as they can only last so long out of the fridge:
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.
The nurse continued to add that the doses could have been used for another person if the GP’s had been notified in advance:
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.
The COVID-19 jabscan be life-saving but they are also very fragile and only last for so many days once defrosted and has an even shorter shelf-life once removed from the fridge.
The nurse went on to explain that the jabs were being prepared quickly but no-show patients leave them with only two choices, either throw them away or rush to find someone else to take it.
They then continued to say that colleagues were often left calling friends and family to see who could get down to the hospital. However, only a few were ever available to make it over on such short notice:
I know from the grapevine it's not just our hospital, it's happening across London, and probably across the entire country. We didn't feel guilty calling friends and family - what else were we to do?
Why are people not showing up?
Of course, this whole situation could be remedied if people called to cancel their appointments in advance, but the question still remains; why are people not showing up for their vaccines?
According to the Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi, many people have up to a 45-minute drive ahead of them in order to reach their nearest vaccination site.
So far the NHS has opened up just seven vaccination sites and many vulnerable people uncertain about making the long trips to their nearest site as not enough local GP’s are taking part.
In order to remedy the situation, the government is considering keeping the vaccination sites open 24 hours a day. But, this will only be an option when the country has a large enough supply of the jabs.
It has also been pointed out by Zahawi that elderly and vulnerable people are not likely to want to make an appointment in the middle of the night. So for now, the hours will continue from 8am-8pm.