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Vulnerable Dickleburgh couple feel ‘trapped in their own home’ after being turned down for Covid booster vaccination

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An elderly couple with severe health problems have been left feeling trapped in their own home after being told they will have to wait at least six weeks for a Covid booster jab.

While more than 8 million people across the UK have now received their third dose, Peter and Penelope Bourner have been warned it could be months before they get theirs – despite one of them suffering from sepsis.

The pair moved to Dickleburgh from Scotland in September, three months after Mrs Bourner contracted the life-threatening illness, with NHS England informing them they were unable to accept proof of their previous vaccinations north of the border.

Peter and Penelope Bourner outside their home in Dickleburgh. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.
Peter and Penelope Bourner outside their home in Dickleburgh. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2021.

After getting their first and second jabs in St Andrews on February 8 and April 20, respectively, the Essex-natives had tried to get their boosters a fortnight ago – only to be told that they were not showing up on NHS England’s database.

“When we first got here, they offered us our first and second jabs, but we said we had already had them – we want our booster,” said Mr Bourner, of The Street.

“They said we’re not on the system. They knew we were on the system in Scotland but, as far as NHS England are concerned, we don’t exist.”

After supplying a letter from their GP in Scotland providing proof of their vaccinations, the couple were told that it could be a wait of up to six weeks to have it updated on the system.

Mr Bourner, who himself has had a replacement heart valve, said that the pair have felt afraid to leave their home due to the increasing risk of catching the virus.

“I’m vulnerable, as is my wife,” said the 76-year-old.

“Going to the pub is a no-no, going to the golf course is a no-no – we feel trapped in our own home. We are going to the supermarket and taking the dogs for a walk, and that’s about it.”

A spokesman for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are aware of this issue and are working hard with national NHS colleagues to resolve this so the patient can get their Covid-19 booster vaccination as soon as possible.”

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