Long waits in 'freezing' conditions reported at Norwich vaccine centre
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Patients have complained of lengthy queues and "freezing" temperatures at one of Norfolk's mass vaccination centres.
People arriving at Castle Quarter on Sunday were confronted with an "enormous" queue, resulting in waits of almost an hour for Covid jabs.
The delay was exacerbated further by an apparent lack of heating in the Norwich shopping centre, patients said.
On Monday, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which is running Norfolk's large-scale sites, said the temperature had been "lower than anticipated" and was being rectified.
One of those left with an uncomfortable wait was Wynne MacGregor, who lives in the city near Unthank Road.
While pleased to get an appointment close to home, Ms MacGregor, who is in her 60s and deemed clinically vulnerable, was shocked when she arrived at Castle Quarter.
"When I saw the enormous queue, I was really surprised," she said. "My health means I am not good at standing for long periods.
"Then it dawned on me how cold it was. It was absolutely freezing and it seemed there was no heating in the building whatsoever.
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"I was not the only older person there and I'm sure I wasn't the only vulnerable patient. The line was moving very slowly, so I ended up asking for a chair because I could not stand anymore.
"I spoke to some volunteers who said they were really cold too, but couldn't do anything about it. They were telling us the wait was because they didn't have enough nurses."
Ms MacGregor said she was tempted to leave the queue and warm up in her car, but was fearful of losing her chance of a vaccine.
After finally receiving a jab, she left the mall at 11.20am - around 50 minutes after her scheduled appointment.
Addressing recent concerns, a spokesman for the Cambridgeshire trust said: "We are aware heating levels at Castle Quarter have been lower than anticipated in the last few days.
"We have brought in heaters to provide additional warmth and will keep this under review.
"We can confirm there have been no significant staffing issues at the vaccination centre and apologise to anyone who had to wait longer than expected."