The queues outside Longton Health Centre, in Longton, over the weekend (Image: Stoke Sentinel / BPM Media)
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Desperate pensioners were left queuing outside a health centre in freezing temperatures while waiting to get their coronavirus jabs.
Photos have emerged of lengthy lines in Longton, Staffordshire, which a local health group blamed on people arriving too early.
The daughter of an elderly woman who twice refused to queue for her jab on Saturday described the scene as a "disgrace".
She said: "Most people know about the dangers of the cold to the elderly.
"According to the NHS it 'weakens the immune system, increases blood pressure, thickens the blood and lowers body temperature, increasing risks of high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and chest infections'.
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"It's a disgrace, therefore, that over the weekend over-80s were queuing outside Longton Health Centre for their Covid vaccine, for well over an hour, on snow-covered pavements.
"We took my 91-year-old mother for her vaccine twice on Saturday. Each time, the queue was so long – with more than 100 people – that we just drove away.
"It was distressing to see over-80s, many with zimmer frames and sticks, queuing in below-zero temperatures.
Members of the public queue at a mass Covid-19 testing site in Liverpool
(Image: Getty Images)
The queue for Covid testing in Brighton
(Image: Andrew Teebay/Liverpool Echo)
"Eventually, my mother had the vaccine on Sunday morning after queuing for an hour with a wheelchair, blanket and hot water bottle. She was lucky – she had family support, many others did not.
"Queues for the vaccine are probably inevitable, but elderly people should not be expected to queue outside in sub-zero temperatures. In my opinion, the organisation of this event was lacking in common sense and short-sighted in the extreme."
The woman was eventually given her jab on Sunday – after turning up with a wheelchair, hot water bottle and blanket.
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A total of 1,700 vaccinations were carried out at Longton Health Centre over the weekend.
A spokesman for the Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group said: "People are really keen to receive their vaccination and take-up has been extremely high with very few missed appointments.
"We hope to minimise queues by asking patients to turn up at the correct time for their appointment.
"Unfortunately there were instances at the weekend of patients turning up very early for appointments and a small number of patients arriving without appointments. This inevitably led to avoidable queuing.
"We please ask that people arrive at their appointment time – and not early or late."