'It's basically don't call us we'll call you': Family's anger as 100-year-old Leeds woman is still waiting for coronavirus vaccine
The family of a 100-year-old Leeds woman have spoken of their upset at her being made to wait for the coronavirus jab.
Margaret Marshall has not yet received the potentially life-saving injection more than a month after the vaccination programme was rolled out.
Relatives of the Roundhay great-grandmother say they have no idea when she will receive it despite around 40,000 people in the city already being vaccinated.
Son Andrew said he has become frustrated after making repeated calls to her GP Surgery - Street Lane Practice - and being told to wait.
He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I have contacted the surgery a number of times and they just keep saying they have no information for us.
"It's basically 'don't call us, we'll call you'. We just keep drawing a blank.
"My mum is obviously anxious to have the vaccine.
"She has always been a survivor and is in good health but it still doesn't seem right."
Mrs Marshall celebrated her 100th birthday last May.
She served the city as an ambulance driver during World War Two and has been a popular community champion in Roundhay for many decades.
She was transport manager for the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service over a number of years.
The widow was also a volunteer for meals on wheels for the elderly.
She participated in the local branch of the Townswomen’s Guild and was for many years a regular performer and supporter of amateur dramatics.
Andrew said: "She had major knee surgery in Harrogate in November.
"She has fully recovered from that and managed to survive going in and out of hospital despite the dangers.
"Given all she has been through and the risk category she is in we thought we would have heard something by now.
"You would have thought someone aged 100 would be dealt with as a bit more of priority.
"Something doesn't seem right given so many people in Leeds have already managed to get the vaccine.
"When you reach such a great age and have contributed to society, you would have thought she might be considered a bit more of a priority."
The YEP reported last year how the much-loved great grandmother was "inundated" with flowers when she reached the landmark birthday
Mrs Marshall grew up in Roundhay on Talbot Road.
She went to school in Leeds and following college worked briefly for the family business.
Married in the early 1940’s, during the war she joined her husband, Weir, a conscripted firefighter, in the Isle of Man.
She subsequently drove ambulances in Leeds and Weir joined the Royal Navy as an officer on HMS Biter.
After the war they settled in Gledhow, Leeds, later moving to Roundhay, where she has lived for over 60 years. Weir died in 2002 aged 91.
Mrs Marshall had been hoping to mark the occasion with a big party surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchilden.
Sadly, the celebrations had to be much more low-key due to Covid-19 social distancing measures.
Andrew said: "We had a party booked for 80 people at Weetwood Hall hotel but had to cancel it.
"Unfortunately, the celebrations had to be limited to a visit from just a few close family and friends.
"Some of her great-grandchildren came and waved at her from the end of the garden."
A spokesperson for NHS England said: "Priority groups for vaccination in this initial phase were determined by Government following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and were people aged 80 and over as well as care home residents and staff.
"Practice teams have been working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
"The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine."
The Yorkshire Evening Post and its sister titles across the UK have launched a campaign challenging Boris Johnson to ensure that every citizen is only a short walk away from a vaccine centre.
Our Shot in the Arm campaign urges the Government to deploy the country’s network of 11,000 pharmacies as front-line Covid vaccine centres.
The NHS began the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history to protect people against Covid-19 in early December.
So far, three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK.
Around 1.5 million people in the UK have now been vaccinated - the large majority with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which was approved in early December.
A vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca is now also being rolled out in the UK, and the Moderna vaccine has just been approved.
Broadly, vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering around 30 million people.
They are thought to represent 90-99% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19.
At the top of the list are residents in care homes for older adults and their carers, 80-year-olds and over and front line health and social care workers.