Hundreds of recently arrived asylum seekers were given the coronavirus vaccine, despite not being in one of the top four priority groups.
Around 320 migrants staying in a hotel near Heathrow Airport received the jab this week, the Daily Mail reported.
It’s thought local GP surgeries decided to vaccinate all the occupants, rather than focus on only those who are at higher risk.
The Government and NHS are investigating the apparent breach in the rollout rules and have vowed to stop it happening again.
Yesterday, NHS England said it is beginning to invite over 65s to get their Covid jab after the majority of people in the top priority groups were contacted.
But in some parts of the country there are still some people in the highest risk groups not vaccinated.
Despite this, everybody staying in the Crowne Plaza was given a jab, regardless of how fit and healthy they were.
It’s thought only 80 of the 320 who received the vaccine were over 70 or had underlying health conditions which would have qualified them for the jab under the current rules.
Abdul, 20, from Sudan, told the Mail he was given the vaccine along with all the other occupants. He said no one he knew refused it.
Another Sudanese asylum seeker, 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.’
The migrants are being housed in the hotel while they await a decision on their asylum claims.
It’s understood local GPs made the decision to vaccinate everyone without the knowledge of the NHS or Home Office.
A Government spokesman told the Mail: ‘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.’
Sir David Sloman, regional director for the NHS in London, added: ‘The NHS vaccinates in line with JCVI guidance to ensure those most at risk from coronavirus are vaccinated first and – 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.’
Metro.co.uk has contacted several migrant and refugee charities for comment.
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