More than 200 migrants staying in Crowne Plaza quarantine hotels near Heathrow get Covid jab early

HUNDREDS of migrants staying in a quarantine hotel have skipped the queue for the Covid vaccine.

Around 80 of the asylum seekers – currently being put up in the Crowne Plaza hotel near London's Heathrow – were eligible for the jab.

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But 240 who were given the life-saving vaccine were not in the top four priority groups, Daily Mail reports.

This includes all over-70s, extremely vulnerable individuals, care home residents and staff and frontline healthcare workers.

The jabs were reportedly administered by local GPs who made the choice to vaccinate all migrants – not just those in the priority groups.

This was not signed off by NHS London or the Home Office, the newspaper reports.

The government has branded the move "completely unacceptable" and said the NHS was taking steps to make sure it didn't happen again.

A spokesperson added: "We have closely followed the advice of scientific experts on the independent JCVI [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] and our first priority is vaccinating the most vulnerable people in society, along with those who care for them, as this will save the most lives.

"It is totally unacceptable for anyone to ignore this guidance and set their own rules, and we know the NHS in London is taking action to ensure it does not happen again."

Some migrants who have been vaccinated said they were not even aware there was a queue.

Abdul, who entered the UK from France seven months ago, said: "'It's important that we don't catch the virus and get sick."

While a Sudanese man, 27, said: "The vaccinations were given to us whatever our age.

"We didn't have to pay. We were told to queue up for them at the hotel. None of us want to catch the coronavirus."


Sir David Sloman, regional director for the NHS in London, said: "The NHS vaccinates in line with JCVI guidance to ensure those most at risk from coronavirus are vaccinated first.

"While this was a rare but unacceptable breach of protocols – we are speaking to the GPs who took this decision independently to ensure it does not happen again." 

The migrants are currently being housed by the government at the Crowne Plaza, where rooms normally cost up to £100-a-night.

This differs from the hotels being used for travellers flying in from the 33 "red list" countries from Monday.

They will have to pay £1,750 for accommodation, transfers, food and drink to quarantine in the guarded hotels.

It comes after the government revealed plans earlier this month for a 'jab amnesty' illegal migrants to encourage them to get the vaccine.

The estimated 1.2million with "irregular status" will be guaranteed they will not be penalised if they register with a GP.

A government spokesperson said at the time: "Coronavirus vaccines will be offered to everyone living in the UK free of charge, regardless of immigration status.

"Those registered with a GP are being contacted at the earliest opportunity and we are working closely with partners and external organisations to contact those who are not registered with a GP to ensure they are also offered the vaccine.”

So far 14,012,224 first doses and 530,094 second doses of the vaccine have been administered in the UK.

The seven-day rolling average of first doses given in the UK is now 503,116 as the largest vaccine rollout in history continues.

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