Man, 61, fuming after being denied Covid jab ‘because he arrived on bike’

Man, 61, fuming after being denied Covid jab 'because he arrived on bike'

A man claims he was turned away from his coronavirus vaccine appointment because he arrived on a bike.

John Cooper, 61, rode to his local train station before pedalling to the jab facility in Carmarthen, Wales last month.

But on arrival he was told he could not be jabbed as the centre was drive-thru only, reports WalesOnline.

Mr Cooper claims bouncers said he should leave and come back in a taxi if he wanted to be vaccinated that day.

He has since been inoculated after booking another appointment at a walk-thru facility elsewhere.

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A Premise Health healthcare worker loads a syringe with the Covid-19 Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine as part of a collaborative effort from the West Virginia National Guard, FamilyCare Health Centers and Toyota to vaccinate Toyota employees on March 26, 2021
Mr Cooper eventually got his jab four days later

But Mr Cooper now wants to speak out over what he claims is confusing information being given by the local health board.

He said: “Why didn’t it say in my letter of invitation that this was a drive-thru facility?

“Of course then I would have phoned the number given and rearranged the appointment.

“They do say in this letter you can phone up if you have particular needs or if the time isn’t convenient for you.

“But no mention at all of the drive-thru.

“I was a bit cross and one of the bouncers suggested I should go back out of the entry to the showground and call a taxi and then I could drive back through in a taxi.

A Brent Council worker hangs a direction sign to the NHS Covid Vaccine Centre at the Olympic Office Centre, Wembley, north London
The local health board said it was “sorry” to hear about Mr Cooper’s experience (file)

“I was just in bewilderment. What is safe about me booking a taxi and then sitting for half an hour with a taxi driver?

“There was no bending of the rules letting you cycle through, but there was that daft suggestion of booking a taxi, so I made my way back to Swansea.

“Then when I got back home of course I had to call that number on the letter to rearrange my appointment.”

He said he was also told by bouncers on March 22 that he wasn’t the only person who had turned up at the centre without a car.

“The bouncers said to me they’d had to turn away various people for walking in, presumably they were walking in from the local area,” he said.

“The real problem was simply that there was no mention of this on the letter, because of that you’d think there might be a courtesy car or something for people coming down without cars.”

Mr Cooper said he managed to successfully book his first jab at a walk-thru facility in Llanelli when he got home, which he had on March 26.

But he thinks the hassle and journey could have easily been avoided if the information had been clearly presented on the letter.

And he said he was fortunate that cycling was a choice for him, but worries this could have been more detrimental for others.

“I think it could also be an issue for people who can’t afford cars, who go all there way down there not knowing they need one to be vaccinated,” Mr Cooper added.

A spokesman from Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We are very sorry to read about Mr Cooper’s experience at our Carmarthenshire Showground site.

“We have seven mass vaccination sites across Hywel Dda, and for operational efficiency and to provide as many options as possible to access the vaccine, our the showground site is managed as a drive through.

“All other sites can be accessed on foot. All letters for the Covid-19 vaccine programme in Hywel Dda UHB are generated centrally.

“We are looking urgently into ensuring that we do everything we can to make these clearer in terms of local services going forward.

“We do offer transport for anyone requiring this to access our mass vaccination site, and you can access transport to get to and from a mass vaccination sites through our Covid enquiries line on 0300 303 8322.”



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