OPINION: Where are Bedford’s COVID-19 vaccines?

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We knew we wouldn’t be first on the list, but Bedford residents at least were reassured that, come 4 January, two Covid-19 (coronavirus) vaccination hubs would be open in the Borough.

They’re not open and many over-80s’ vaccination appointments have been cancelled.

By Monday, almost a million people across the UK had received their first vaccine dose. None of them are in Bedford.

So what’s happened?

An investigation in last weekend’s Sunday Times (Postcode Lottery for life-saving Covid vaccination), revealed that, “A month after the immunisation programme started, large towns such as Bedford, Newark and Braintree, with a combined population of about 330,000, do not have any sites ready.”

Read: Bedford coronavirus vaccine rollout to begin in January

In light of the Sunday Times story, the Bedford Independent contacted Bedford Clinical Commissioning Board (CCG) first thing on Monday morning to seek confirmation that the vaccination hubs at Ampthill Road and the Queens Park Gurdwara would be opening that day.

Silence.

We followed up again yesterday (Tuesday), but still no press comment or information about when the vaccination centres will be open.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson, in his monthly Bedford Independent column, shared residents’ frustration:

“I was extremely disappointed that Bedford Borough was not included in the first wave of vaccinations and I raised this with the Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at our most recent Local Outbreak Engagement Board.”

You can watch the meeting here.

At that meeting, the council were told there was an additional delay with the CCG blaming supply for cancelled appointments.

The Mayor says he has been told that patients with cancelled appointment would not go to the back of the queue and should receive a new appointment soon.

The CCG has also told the Mayor that vaccinations will start later this week at Kings House on Ampthill Road, but will not start at the Temple on Ford End Road until next week.

We have not received any confirmation that this is the case.

We will continue to press the CCG for information.

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