United Kingdom

Travel concierge service charging members £40,000 for private Covid jab

An elite members-only travel concierge service is charging the world's mega-rich £40,000 to fly them out to Dubai and India for a Covid vaccine - while the UK has to ration the vaccine among the most-desperate.

The Knightsbridge Circle is offering its hand-picked members first-class travel to countries who administer the sought-after vaccine on a private basis.

The club has been offering the elite mega-rich both the Pfizer and the Sinopharm jabs in the UAE, its founder Stuart McNeill has revealed. 

The enormous £40,000 fee per member covers first-class flights on Emirates and accommodation in a sea-view apartment as well as the jab.

Mr McNeill said his wealthy clients have 'business meetings' in Dubai meaning they can get around Britain's ban on non-essential foreign travel during lockdown. 

As of this week, the Oxford Astrazenica vaccine can be offered in India for the same fee, Mr McNeill said.

An elite members-only travel concierge service is charging the world's mega-rich £40,000 to fly them out to Dubai (file image) and India for a Covid vaccine - while the UK has to ration the vaccine among the most-desperate

For this trip, clients are offered a villa with a pool, a personal chef and household staff. 

Many opt to stay in the country they flew to for the 21-day wait between vaccinations - but many opt to fly somewhere else for a holiday.  

Mr McNeill told The Daily Telegraph: 'It's very exciting to say that we can offer the vaccine now. We've been proactive in offering it to all of our existing members.'

When asked about the moral implications of administering the jab privately, Mr McNeill all of the people receiving the jab through his club are over 65 - and many are members' parents of grandparents. 

He added: 'I feel that everybody who has access to private [healthcare should be able to be vaccinated] - as long as we offer it to the right people.'

Yesterday, GPs leading Britain's great vaccination drive have been forced to pause inoculations to allow other parts of the country to catch up.

Practices that have already vaccinated every patient over the age of 80 and are now looking to dish the jabs out to the over-70s have had their deliveries cancelled by NHS leaders, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Government sources claim ministers are deliberately trying to spread out limited supplies in case the immunisation programme is accused of being a postcode lottery.

Dr John Bedson, a GP in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, claimed today his practice had not yet been able to vaccinate a single patient, despite surgeries in more affluent areas of North Staffordshire already administering 'thousands' of doses.

Matt Hancock hinted yesterday that a lack of supply was behind the decision to delay jabs despite the vaccination scheme desperately needing to get up to speed to reach its goal of jabbing 13million Brits by mid-February. 

Last week, a London property investment firm was forced to apologise after its 'appalling' bid to skip the coronavirus vaccine queue by offering doctors £5,000 for each jab given to its staff.

Doctors across Britain are said to have been offered up to £100,000 to vaccinate the workforce of The Hacking Trust - a luxury London property firm - amid fears of an emerging black market for the jabs.

The company sent an email to NHS surgeries offering a 'reward' for vaccinating its 'frontline staff', The Telegraph reported.

GPs were told by the company that it would pay £5,000 for ever jab administered to its 20-person workforce. 'This can be paid either as a charitable donation or to the staff member directly,' the email to the surgeries said.

It has since released an apology, explaining its 'good intentions' had been 'misinterpreted'. 

A London Based Property Firm - The Hacking Trust - allegedly sent an email to GP surgeries requesting unused vaccines for its 20 staff members, offer £5,000 for each jab given

The government vowed in November that private companies would not be allowed to purchase doses of the vaccination before everyone in the country had been offered it for free under the NHS.

Covid-19 vaccines are owned by the UK government licensed by Public Health England, and are not available for private sales.

But the attempt from The Hacking Trust to purchase vaccines will add to concerns over a black market for Covid jabs, with companies willing to spend thousands of pounds on single doses to get their hands on the vital jabs for their staff. 

In the email seen by The Telegraph, the company introduced itself as a 'private medical company who is looking to vaccinate their front-line staff as soon as possible'.

On its website, the company describes itself as 'specialists in purchasing residential and commercial properties,' and a 'market leader in its sector and acts as principal for its own investment. 

'Our skill is structuring deals with expert legal and financial backing enabling us to get things done professionally and efficiently,' the company's website claims.

The email, with the subject line 'Unused vaccine reward.' said the company required 'approx 20 vaccinations and we understand you are operating a Covid-19 vaccination centre. 

On its website, the company describes itself as 'specialists in purchasing residential and commercial properties,' and claims 'Our skill is structuring deals with expert legal and financial backing enabling us to get things done professionally and efficiently'

'We have been informed that many appointments are not kept and some do not attend at all.

'On this basis we would like to be informed as soon as possible of any 'no shows' or cancellations on any given day which would result in unnecessary wastage of the vaccination.'

The email continued, saying that The Hacking Trust would donate £5,000 to 'the individual', either 'as a charitable donation or to the staff member directly.' 

'We are able to attend within a few hours following a telephone call email response. I look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency to discuss,' it signed off.

The Hacking Trust, contacted for comment by the MailOnline, said: 'The Hacking Health Trust has offered in open correspondence to some GP’s charitable donations to staff or surgeries in this difficult time for any vaccines which were unused. 

'We had heard that some vaccines were being unused due to missed appointments. We would apologise that our good intentions have been misinterpreted.'

Pictured: Nurse Sue Toye, 51, one of the first people to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a GP practice in England, is given the vaccination at Priory Gate Surgery at the City of Coventry Health Centre in Coventry, central England on January 7, 2021

The Telegraph reported that the email was sent to other GP surgeries, including one in Worthing in West Sussex. 

The email - which came from the Wandsworth-based property company - claimed to be from a 'private medical company', and was sent from its Hacking Trust Medical division, which says on its website specialises in 'looking to buy commercial medical properties on a nationwide basis'. 

'In this difficult time of raising capital it is proving to be a very successful and creative way of creating cash flow for practitioners,' the website says.

'You may be looking to raise equity to expand the surgery or to buy equipment. You may be looking to buy out retiring partners.'

It was reported last month that some wealthy people were offering to pay huge sums of money to skip to the front of the vaccine queue, with several British doctors said they had been sent numerous requests from such individuals.

Pictured: Practice Nurse Tina Sutton draws off a single dose from a vial, which can provide 10 individual doses to patients, of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

One doctor and owner of Klink, a private clinic in Cheshire - Dr Roshan Ravindran - claimed some clients had offered £2,000 to be vaccinated, The Telegraph said.

Greg Clark, the MP for Tunbridge Wells and former Business Secretary, has called on any vaccines left over to be administered to front-line medical staff.

'It is important that vaccines should be given in order of the age and vulnerability of patients. If there are ever any unused vaccines that need to be deployed by the NHS at the end of a day they should be offered first to critical workers,' he said.  

Robyn Clark, director of the Institute of General Practice Management tweeted that organisation was 'appalled that a company would offer money in any capacity to effectively jump the queue for a vaccine'.

She continued: Practices are doing their upmost to ensure vaccine is given to the priority groups as laid out by the JCVI, as these are the most vulnerable in our society. 

'The NHS is free and  equitable to patients, always will be.'

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: 'Hundreds of NHS teams across the country are working hard to deliver vaccines quickly to those who would benefit most – people aged 80 and over and those who live or work in care homes - with doses also for our frontline health and social care workers.

'NHS staff will never ask for, or accept, cash for vaccines, and the public will rightly take a dim view of anyone who tries to jump the queue.'

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