Hundreds of teachers in London ‘book Covid vaccine through NHS booking link sent on Whatsapp’

Hundreds of teachers in London are booking coronavirus vaccinations using an NHS link, it has been suggested, while other areas are rolling out jabs to over-60s.

A staff member at a school in the capital, who has not been named, claimed today he had secured an appointment after receiving access to the system via Whatsapp. 

‘A friend of ours at another school had received an email from their friend,’ said the teacher, who has no underlying health conditions and is not over 70 years old.

‘She quoted the email the person had received apparently from a senior leader at their school. The quote was that Barts Health Authority was vaccinating teachers with their leftover vaccines and then it went on to give a link from the Barts booking system and a password to use.’ 

It comes amid reports over-60s are also now receiving their first doses in Greater Manchester, despite over-80s in the area still waiting for their shots.

NHS England figures show 86.5 per cent of over-80s in the area have been vaccinated, alongside 88.1 per cent of 75 to 79-year-olds and 56 per cent of those aged 70 to 74 years old.

Labour has repeatedly called for teachers to be bumped up the jabs priority list, arguing it could get children back behind their desks earlier.

But Boris Johnson has said even with a successful vaccines rollout classrooms in England will remain empty until March 8 at the earliest, when ministers hope high infection rates will have plummeted to much lower levels. 

Labour won a majority of seats in the capital during the last general election, managing to cling on to 49 of 73 while its support collapsed in the North.

The Prime Minister is aiming to get 13.9million of the most vulnerable – over-70s, care home residents, NHS staff and the vulnerable – jabbed by mid-February.

But moves by health officials to give shots to those outside the top groups will raise fears over a vaccines postcode lottery, as some areas steam ahead.

NHS data show the rollout is going almost four times faster in South East London for those aged 70 to 74, compared to Devon which is trailing behind.

And it suggests there are almost 300,000 over-80s still waiting for their first dose in England, as the drive steams through its ninth week. 

Ministers have so far resisted calls to bump teachers up the vaccination list, saying they will follow the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommendations.

Speaking in an anonymous capacity to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the teacher said: ‘A friend of ours at another school had received an email from their friend. She quoted the email the person had received apparently from a senior leader at their school. 

‘The quote was that Barts Health Authority was vaccinating teachers with their leftover vaccines and then it went on to give a link from the Barts booking system and a password to use.

‘I was [able to book an appointment]. I was sceptical that it would accept the appointment right up to the point it was confirmed.

‘I thought during the booking process, if it wasn’t something I was entitled to, I thought there would be something that would close it down or would refuse the appointment. 

‘But I went through the booking system and entered my details, my school details, my job details and then received a confirmation of the appointment itself.’ 



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