26th Jun, 2022

Sisters stage daily protest outside Coventry mental health facility after third sister 'denied' Covid vaccine

TWO sisters held a daily protest outside a mental healthy facility in Coventry this week claiming their 57-year-old sister was ‘denied’ a Covid vaccine.

University employee Louisa Hopkins, from Coventry, and Warwick musician Anna Ryder said they would continue to lobby daily from 12.30pm – 1.30pm outside the Caludon Centre until their sister – who is an in-patient – receives a vaccine and has other basic health appointments met.

In a joint statement, Louisa and Anna said: “We feel like we’re stuck in a catch 22. The GP surgery won’t go into the centre to vaccinate our sister and the centre won’t let her out to attend a vaccine appointment.

“All we want is for our sister to get the healthcare she is entitled to. We’re terrified she’ll contract coronavirus from being in the centre and can’t understand why nothing is being done to protect her and the other patients.

“It’s impossible to get any information from the centre and we’ve tried phoning and writing to everyone else we can think of but no action has been taken. This protest is our last resort.”

Their sister who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, was sectioned in January  due to a deterioration in her mental health, which left her unable to live independently. She has been a patient at the Caludon Centre, based on the site of the city’s University Hospital (UHCW) since.

She is in priority group six, meaning she would have already received her first dose of the vaccine if she was still living in the community.

Their sister received a Covid vaccine appointment at her GP surgery on Friday March 26. But she was not able to attend with her family as leave was not granted.

Louisa and Anna are extremely concerned about their sister’s health and feel she is at risk, with a number of patients regularly leaving the ward and then mixing with other patients on their return.

In February, DJ Jo Whiley drew attention to people with learning disabilities being left behind by the vaccine programme, after her sister contracted Covid-19 at her Northamptonshire care home. The BBC Radio 2 presenter’s sister, who has a learning disability and diabetes, was taken to hospital after an outbreak.

Individuals with learning disabilities have since been prioritised for vaccines, with GPs also advised to ensure that people with severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia are able to access vaccination appointments.

A spokesperson for Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust said: “The trust recognises that vaccinating against Covid-19 plays an important role in protecting people against infection with the virus and would want to support all our staff and service users to have their vaccination at the appropriate time.

“We have started our plan for vaccinating people on our in-patient wards in line with the national guidance provided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and will continue to implement this in the coming weeks.”

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