STEPS have been taken to resolve snaking queues outside a vaccine centre after a communication mishap. 

Council bosses have revealed they were unaware a vaccine centre would open at the Belle Vue Baptist Church in Southend.

Saturday saw huge queues at the centre until council staff arrived at the church to help organise patients waiting for their jabs. 

It is believed “more than one person” suffered from a fall while waiting for their jab.

And in new measures, the time allowed for each jab at the church has been increased from three to five minutes. 

Southend Council leader, Ian Gilbert, admitted it is frustrating the council were not made aware, with staff always ready to lend a helping hand. 

He said: “There were serious problems at the Belle Vue Baptist Church vaccination site on Saturday. 

“The council was given no prior notice that vaccinations were to be taking place there, but when we became aware of problems on Saturday morning our staff attended to offer assistance with logistics on site.

“I intend no criticism of the health staff or the church. 

“Decisions are being taken in a last-minute way owing to uncertainties about the vaccine supply and wanting to use every opportunity to deliver vaccines as quickly as possible. 

“Council officers are offering every assistance in the smooth roll out of the vaccine, but we are not the decision makers in this project. 

“Organisers have increased the time allowed for each appointment from three to five minutes to allow more time for people to get in and out of venues safely.”
Southend’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) urged residents to “play their part” in the vaccine rollout.

Matt Dent, Labour councillor of the Kursaal ward, added: “There were long queues with vulnerable people forced to wait outside in inclement weather as there were delays, resulting in more than one person suffering a fall. 

“This is absolutely not what we want to see with the vaccine rollout.

“The rollout is being done at pace, for obvious reasons, and mistakes are going to be made.

“What’s important is that they are learned from and not repeated.” 

The CCG was contacted for comment.