Vaccine plea: 90-year-old Biggleswade veteran ‘left like sitting duck due to delayed jab’

A Biggleswade daughter has spoken out in frustration, claiming that her father – a brave World War Two veteran – has had his Covid-19 vaccination delayed.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 10:16 am

In an emotional plea via this newspaper, NHS worker Karen Hatch detailed how James Munnelly, 94, was looking forward to receiving his jab on Wednesday (January 20), only to be informed the day before that it had been cancelled.

Mr Munnelly lives at Penrose Court care home, Delius Road, which was reportedly told last week that its staff and residents would be vaccinated on the 20th.

Fighting back her tears, Karen, 59, told the Chronicle: “My father is a veteran who served in the war, and I have worked for the NHS for 20 years myself - we have given our lives to this country, and still nobody knows why they are not getting the vaccine.

James Munnelly and his medals.

“I filled in the paperwork [for James] six weeks ago. They are like sitting ducks. I can’t believe he hasn’t had it yet. I work in Stevenage and all their care homes have been vaccinated.”

Karen claims that her father, who is bedbound, was dreadfully upset by the news, so much so, he didn’t give Karen her usual morning telephone call on Wednesday.

Exasperated, she also contacted Richard Fuller, MP for North East Bedfordshire.

Karen, who feels desperately sorry for all the residents and staff, claimed: “I’m not taking this lightly.

“Please don’t forget my dad. He served for this country and went round keeping the peace in Egypt and Italy.

“But if he gets Covid he will not pull through.”

A Penrose Court care home spokesman said: “This is an extremely difficult time for those in our care, their families, friends and our staff. Their health, safety and wellbeing are of paramount importance and, as such, we are committed to doing everything we can to achieve this goal.

“We can confirm we have vigorously been putting the home forward for our residents and our staff to receive the Covid-19 vaccination, however, we are sad to report that after being placed on standby for this process to commence today [Wednesday], we learnt yesterday [Tuesday] that this would need to be postponed, we have since been given a provisional date of next Wednesday.

“Throughout this pandemic, the home has been fully equipped with all necessary personal protective equip- ment (PPE) and has adopted and adhered to all government guidelines as and when these have been issued.

“Our aim is always to provide the best possible care for our residents, and we pay tribute to our loyal, hard-working and committed employees for continuing to care for our residents at this most difficult time.”

However, as the newspaper went to press yesterday afternoon, Richard Fuller MP told the Chronicle that the vaccination date will be January 23.

Mr Fuller said: “This has been a worrying time for the residents and staff at Penrose Court and for their families and loved ones.

“I am pleased that the vaccination date has now been reconfirmed for this Saturday and that there will be no further delay, and I am grateful to the clinical commissioning group for their efforts.

“The experience at Penrose Court raised more general points of principle which I raised in Parliament with the secretary of state today.

“He was right to confirm that vaccinations in care homes should proceed even if there is a recent positive case.”

As the Chronicle was going to press, Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups also confirmed that the vaccination date for Penrose Court would be January 23.

A BLMK CCG spokeswoman said: “Vaccinations of residents and staff at Penrose Care Home have been booked in, and we are on track to vaccinate all care home residents and staff.”

It also added some background advice for residents: “NHS staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what it is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as dealing with a new admission for Covid-19 every 30 seconds, but we need the public to play their part too.

“Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you. When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, so that we can avoid queues in this cold weather.”

For more information, visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19