CONFUSION reigned last night over the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine in York.

The Press has learned that while some vulnerable patients with certain York GP practices have been receiving the vaccination since Tuesday, patients with other practices have been invited to arrange a date - only to later have their appointments cancelled because the vaccine ‘was not available’.

There were also reports that an NHS online booking system to which eligible patients were referred was baffling and hard to use.

Former Sheriff of York Verna Campbell, 81, was invited to make an appointment online three days ago.

She struggled for hours to try to fill in the online booking form - being repeatedly thrown off the site or told ‘you are not eligible’ when she filled in the form wrongly.

The booking system was ‘a nightmare’, said Mrs Campbell, who lives in Fulford. A pop-up message kept getting in the way of fields she was trying to fill in; she kept getting a message she didn’t understand telling her ‘a value is required’; and at one point she was asked to confirm whether she had Covid or not.

There was no obvious way to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, she said: just two circular tick-boxes, one half off the page, with no way of telling which was which. She clicked one - only to be told that since she had Covid she was not eligible.

She started the whole process again - only to find the drop-down box where she should have been able to choose a location was empty.

She gave up - and the following day got a text message saying: “We’re sorry. Vaccination has been delayed.”

“It’s appalling,” said a frustrated Mrs Campbell. “I really want to get vaccinated, but it was so stressful. I kept imagining other people were trying to book at the same time!

“I’m fairly IT savvy, yet I found the booking system an utter nightmare. Most of the people being invited will be over 80. There’s no way most of them will be able to use the system.”

Mrs Campbell wasn’t alone in her frustration. Jan and Bob Summers, both aged 82, who live in the Chocolate Works off Campleshon Road, at least managed to make an appointment. They were hoping the jab would give them some immunity against the virus for when they visit family over Christmas, so were pleased when they were told they would be vaccinated today. But then they received a phone call saying the appointment had been cancelled because the vaccine wasn’t available. “It is disappointing,” said Mrs Summers.

When The Press contacted Mrs Campbell’s surgery, the Priory Medical Group, we were referred to Nimbuscare, which organises appointments for several York practices. A Nimbuscare spokesperson confirmed that patients at some GP practices had been getting the jab on both Tuesday and Wednesday - but said not all practices had access to the jab yet. Some practices may have issued invitations prematurely and subsequently had to cancel them, the spokesperson added.

The Vale of York CCG, which is responsible for all GP practices in the area, said: “This the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS with complex logistical challenges. More GP practices are joining the vaccination effort over this week and next. Sites are going live when all the logistics - and the vaccine required - are in place.”

Patients are being advised NOT to try to phone their GP to book a vaccination appointment.