United Kingdom

Covid-19 UK: Vaccine queue system jumped by people claiming to be carers

Britons can cheat the Covid vaccine queue system by claiming to be a carer to get jabbed early.

Officials aren't thoroughly checking the credentials of people when they turn up for their appointments, inoculated people claim. 

NHS bosses say carers and NHS staff must provide proof of their occupation when they go to get vaccinated, such as letter identifying them as a registered carer. 

Local authorities are running different identification schemes, including using carer passports and carer emergency cards. 

But insiders involved in the day-to-day running of the scheme and dozens of Britons who claim to have been jabbed have told how there are 'no checks' and no need to provide any proof of identity.

George Hasan wrote on Twitter: 'Had the Covid vaccine. It was straightforward and painless. If you are a carer, get yourself an appointment. You don't even have to be a carer — no checks.' 

Dorthe Nielsen said: 'I got mine today. Didn't need to provide any proof or anything. Not even identity.'

And another wrote: 'My Dad didn't have to show anything when he got his — just shared his name but didn't have to show anything to prove it.'

An NHS spokesperson told MailOnline that queue jumping is 'reprehensible' but did not deny that people have been able to get the vaccine when they should not be.

A spokesperson said: 'People are being invited to receive a vaccine in line with guidance set by the JCVI, so that the most vulnerable are protected first. 

'While it is reprehensible to try to jump the queue ahead of the priority groups, anyone who books to get the vaccine fraudulently should be turned away.'

Bitons have been cheating the Covid vaccine queue and getting jabbed early by claiming to be a carer without having to prove it at centres. Pictured: A member of the military administers the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination centre at Holm View Leisure Centre in Barry, Wales, yesterday

Ministers have pledged to dish out vaccines to all 32million in the top nine priority groups — which include unpaid carers — by the end April.

Boris Johnson said the remaining adults should be offered their first jab by the end of July.

Successful roll-out is crucial to easing lockdown, with the goal of all restrictions being eased on June at the earliest. 

But the scheme has so far been subject to a postcode lottery, with healthy people in their twenties and thirties having already had jabs in some parts of England.

Health service bosses in England say the roll-out is currently only officially open to over-60s, but a worker involved in the coronavirus vaccine programme in London today claimed 'anyone' could get an appointment 

Screenshots of the online booking system show that a person is able to book an appointment at their local vaccination centre without having proved their carer status

They told MailOnline: 'You could try book yourself in — just say you are a care worker and see for yourself.'

The online booking system — on the NHS's website — only asks people to tick a box to confirm they are carer, before offering them an appointment. 

Northern Ireland officials last week had to withdraw online booking for carers because of an 'abuse of the system'. It was reinstalled later that day because the abuse was only coming from a 'minority' of people, officials said. 

The JCVI defines a carer as someone who is 'in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill'.  

Patricia Donnelly, head of Northern Ireland's Covid Vaccine Programme, said: 'This represents regular substantial support and not just shopping or errands.'   

Carers have taken to social media to raise concerns that centres across the UK have not been checking for proof of carer status

It comes after it was revealed NHS workers could be forced to take a vaccine under plans being discussed by ministers. 

The Mail revealed that a review of vaccine passports will consider whether health staff who decline an injection could be legally obliged to have one.

The review is also expected to look at whether compulsion should apply to care home staff, most of whom are not employed by the state.

Ministers believe the move could cut the virus death toll and limit delays to the easing of lockdown.

However there are major legal and moral issues as well as uncertainty as to what could happen to those who still refuse to be inoculated.

As many as 200,000 NHS and care employees have refused the offer of a jab so far, despite working in close proximity to the vulnerable.

‘It is extraordinary that so many people in the health sector appear to have turned down the vaccine,’ a Cabinet source told the Mail.

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