A technical issue may have allowed ineligible people to skip the Covid vaccine queue

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 10:34 am
Updated Thursday, 21st January 2021, 10:34 am
A technical issue may have allowed ineligible people to skip the Covid vaccine queue (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

A technical loophole to jump the queue for a Covid vaccine is being exploited, using links shared on social media, according to the Evening Standard.

Some NHS Trusts are using online booking system, Swiftqueue, to organise vaccine appointments, and it is through this tool that some people who are not eligible have been able to exploit the technical issue and secure appointments for the vaccine.

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The links to make an appointment would have been sent out legitimately to those who are entitled to a vaccine, but must have then been forwarded on to others, or otherwise distributed.

There are reports of this happening in East London, parts of the North of England, Nottinghamshire and Chesterfield.

Are people actually getting the vaccine?

Swiftqueue’s CEO, Brendan Casey, said that people who fraudulently book vaccine appointments will not receive the jab, and “you will be wasting healthcare workers valuable time”.

However, speaking to the Evening Standard, Toby Perkins MP claimed he is aware of people who were not eligible that were able to get vaccinated using one of the links.

The MP for Chesterfield said: “I suspect a lot of the appointments they’ve got for this weekend will be people who are not frontline workers.”

Casey countered: “Anyone who books to get the vaccine fraudulently will be turned away - full stop. Some people have used links shared with them to try and falsely get the Covid vaccine.

“If they book and attend the clinic to try and jump the queue and they do not have proof of eligibility and they will be turned away.”

He added: “The NHS’s current approach prioritises the elderly and those on the front line, health and social care workers, and the clinically vulnerable to be vaccinated first. If you get an appointment, please use it. If you are eligible and get an invitation, please get an appointment.

"If you do get an invitation by a shared link dishonestly to make an appointment, I am asking that you don’t - as you will be wasting healthcare workers valuable time and you won’t be vaccinated. You must be eligible to be vaccinated to receive the vaccine.”

A spokesman for the East London NHS Foundation Trust said: “People attending appointments at the Westfield Vaccination Centre will be asked for proof that they have personally been invited for a vaccination and belong to one of these priority cohorts, to ensure that no one who is currently ineligible for the vaccine receives it as a result of making a false online declaration."