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NHS COVID-19 jab letters 'confusing over-80s'

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People waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine say they are confused by NHS letters inviting them to travel to centres miles away from their homes.

The first 130,000 letters have been sent to people aged 80 or older who live about 30 to 45 minutes' drive away from one of seven new regional centres.

But patients, many of whom are shielding, questioned why they had to travel so far in a pandemic.

Local jabs are available to people if they wait, the NHS said.

The seven centres include Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, London's Nightingale hospital, Newcastle's Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham's Millennium Point.

Mary McGarry from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire told BBC News that her letter points to an NHS online booking page which suggests she would have to take her husband, who has cancer and a lung disease, 20 miles to Birmingham.

"We're very reluctant to go into Birmingham city centre," she said.

"If we can't get somebody to take us, we'd have to go on the train but we're shielding because my husband's got poor health.... we want to know why we've got to travel that far?"

People will not miss out on their vaccination if they do not use the letters to make an appointment at one of the centres, the NHS said.

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Source: BBC News, 11 January 2021

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