UK

Hundreds of school staff get the Covid jab by mistake

Revealed: Hundreds of school staff get the Covid jab by mistake after messages apparently inviting teachers for vaccines are circulated on WhatsApp

  • Hundreds of teachers, nursery workers and school staff mistakenly given jabs
  • At least three major hospital groups in southern England vaccinated teachers
  • The mistakes happened last week after WhatsApp messages invited them in

Hundreds of teachers, nursery workers and other school staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19 by mistake, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Ministers have refused to bump school staff up the queue of priority groups for vaccination, despite a chorus of voices calling for them to do so to get children back into class.

But this newspaper has learnt that at least three major hospital groups in southern England vaccinated teachers in error last week after messages apparently inviting them for jabs were circulated on WhatsApp.

More than 100 turned up at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, on Thursday after receiving a message telling them it was inoculating education staff.

Hundreds of teachers, nursery workers and other school staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19 by mistake, The Mail on Sunday can reveal (stock image)

Teachers were also vaccinated at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London and at a vaccination centre in Canterbury, Kent, last weekend.

The NHS is currently vaccinating only those who are over 70 or extremely clinically vulnerable and health and care workers.

The MoS revealed last month how a coalition of top private and state schools offered to vaccinate all one million of England’s education workforce in a seven-day blitz at half-term this month, but the idea was not taken up by Ministers.

But hundreds of education staff have inadvertently jumped the queue anyway and received their jabs. Teachers in South London received WhatsApp messages last week informing them that St George’s Hospital was offering jabs to education staff. 

Ministers have refused to bump school staff up the queue of priority groups for vaccination, despite a chorus of voices calling for them to do so to get children back into class (stock image)

Ministers have refused to bump school staff up the queue of priority groups for vaccination, despite a chorus of voices calling for them to do so to get children back into class (stock image)

When they arrived they were asked to fill out a form on which the word ‘teacher’ had been written in a section asking their key worker occupation. ‘There were about 100 people at the vaccination centre and they all appeared to be education staff,’ one teacher who received a jab said. ‘We’ve now been told that it was apparently a mistake.’

St George’s said: ‘Some teachers were vaccinated in error. Systems were quickly corrected to prevent this happening again. The message was shared on local WhatsApp groups, but is not one we ever sanctioned or communicated.’

Teachers in North and East London were also sent a message last week with a booking link, via their schools, which then circulated on WhatsApp. The message said: ‘Barts health authority is vaccinating teachers with leftover vaccines: when it asks what your profession and hospital is select “other”, then put in your school details.’

One teacher said: ‘The conflicting and changing guidance from the Government made me feel like it was possible that this was a genuine offer for teachers that had just not been passed on.’

More than 100 turned up at St George’s Hospital (pictured) in Tooting, South London, on Thursday after receiving a message telling them it was inoculating education staff

More than 100 turned up at St George’s Hospital (pictured) in Tooting, South London, on Thursday after receiving a message telling them it was inoculating education staff

Barts Health NHS Trust confirmed that a booking link for its employees was forwarded to local school staff by mistake. 

In a third incident, health bosses in East Kent told local schools that teachers who were extremely clinical vulnerable, and therefore eligible, could book vaccinations. But one school appears to have wrongly believed all teachers were eligible.

After this spread on WhatsApp, teachers and other education staff received jabs at a vaccination centre at the St Lawrence cricket ground in Canterbury last Saturday.

‘We had teachers who weren’t in the eligible groups book, albeit in good faith,’ East Kent Hospitals said. ‘As soon as we realised we closed the bookings down.’

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