Hundreds of frail and elderly people are forced to queue in the freezing cold to receive Covid jabs at Plymouth Argyle football stadium as relatives blast ‘absolute shambles’
- Queue compared to match day-style crowds, with some waiting up 90 minutes
- Storm Darcy has brought snow and freezing temperatures across the UK today
- Relatives of those queuing expressed frustration at the delays in cold weather
Hundreds of elderly and frail people were left ‘freezing’ as they queued up outside in the cold to receive their Covid jab outside a football stadium today.
The queue at Home Park in Plymouth has been compared to match day-style crowds, with some said to have been waiting for up to 90 minutes as the mercury dropped to zero.
While the Devon city avoided the chaos seen elsewhere in the UK today – with up to a foot of snowfall and 50mph winds causing crashes, rail cancellations and vaccination centre closures – many expressed frustration at having to wait amid such low temperatures.
Hundreds of elderly and frail people were left ‘freezing’ as they queued up outside in the cold to receive their Covid jab outside Home Park in Plymouth today
The queue at Home Park in Plymouth has been compared to match day-style crowds, with some said to have been waiting more than 90 minutes as the mercury dropped to zero
One woman, Stacey, whose parents went to get their jab this morning, said they ‘didn’t expect’ to have to stand in a huge line of people having been given an appointment.
Photographs show the extent of the line outside the ground, which snakes back to the entrance to the Goals sports complex several yards away.
It is understood once people get into the stadium there is seating available under a marquee.
But having to stand in the cold for more than an hour has left many angry, but has also sparked gestures of goodwill, with some in the queue offering the older and more frail patients their jackets to try and keep warm.
‘It sounds like an absolute shambles,’ Stacey said.
‘The queue goes from the stadium all the way back to the main road.
‘My parents have phoned and they were given an appointment. They said they didn’t expect to queue. They said it is freezing.
‘The old frail people in wheelchairs said didn’t expect to queue. People are giving the old frail people their coats. It’s absolutely terrible.’
Most of England and Scotland is now covered in snow, with temperatures plunging as low as -7C in Scotland as a ‘bitterly cold’ weather system swept in from Ukraine and the Black Sea.
Three of East Anglia’s largest vaccination centres remained closed due to the snow today, after initially shutting their doors on Sunday.
Several other vaccination centres also remain closed, including: Clacton Hospital, Colchester United’s stadium, Gainsborough Sports Centre in Ipswich and Chevington Close in Bury St Edmunds.
The stadium’s car park was packed as people queued up patiently in the cold to get their jab
Some described the scenes as a ‘shambles’, while others jumped to the defence of those working at the vaccination centre
Plymouth appears to have avoided the very worst of that chaos, and others have praised the efforts of those working at the vaccination centre.
One man said it was a ‘very small price to pay’ for protection from the virus.
‘Yes there is a long queue, but these people are working very hard to get as many done a day as possible,’ he added.
Sue Wilkins, director of mass vaccination and testing for University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said: ‘We are hugely grateful to everyone who has enabled us to get to this point, including our hosts at Plymouth Argyle.
‘Please wait until you receive a letter before attending the site; this will happen for everyone who has not had a vaccination at another venue in due course.
‘When you receive a letter, it will give you the choice of coming to the centre for your vaccination and explain how to book.’
Anyone who cannot travel, or does not want to travel to one of the vaccine sites, will be vaccinated at their GP surgery.
NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group has been approached for comment.