Elderly people in line to receive a COVID-19 jab at the Gżira Health Centre were left waiting on Sunday due to a delay in the delivery of the shots.

The jabs did eventually arrive enabling staff to continue with the inoculation procedure.

“My mother’s appointment was over an hour ago, and we were informed that the centre had run out of vaccines and is now waiting for more doses to arrive,” one woman told Times of Malta.

When she asked when the doses were to be delivered she was asked to wait.

The woman said clinic health care workers and staff "did their best" and the mistakes were being made at "management level".

Another woman, whose 93-year-old mother was waiting to be vaccinated, praised the work of the centre. “The delay is not their fault. But we wish to understand how health centres are left waiting for vaccines to arrive when there are appointments to abide by.”

One complained of logistics, as apart from waiting for the vaccines to arrive, senior citizens were left waiting outdoors with nowhere to sit and with no social distancing measures.

Earlier in the week, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that while until some time ago vaccines were being mixed in the place where they were being administered "to avoid wastage", the procedure changed recently after directives were issued by the nurses' union. 

The MUMN had ordered health centre nurses to limit the number of vials that are reconstituted on site and because the number of vaccines given daily has been increased, the system was changed with the jabs being reconstituted at a  central location and delivered ready to be taken.

He said that because of this situation, 10 vials, representing 50 to 60 vaccines, had been lost as a result.

It is not known whether any vaccines were lost on Sunday. Efforts to contact a health ministry spokesperson proved futile.

A health centre source said that professionals could not order a large number of vaccines at one go because if the elderly did not show up for their appointment the jabs would be wasted.

Similar complaints were made back in January, when elderly and relatives were left frustrated as they had to wait long hours to get the jab.

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