Doctors across Britain are said to have been offered up to £100,000 to vaccinate the workforce of The Hacking Trust – a luxury London property firm – amid fears of an emerging black market for the jabs.
GPs were told by the company that it would pay £5,000 for ever jab administered to its 20-person workforce. ‘This can be paid either as a charitable donation or to the staff member directly,’ the email to the surgeries said.
It has since released an apology, explaining its ‘good intentions’ had been ‘misinterpreted’.
A London Based Property Firm – The Hacking Trust – allegedly sent an email to GP surgeries requesting unused vaccines for its 20 staff members, offer £5,000 for each jab given
The government vowed in November that private companies would not be allowed to purchase doses of the vaccination before everyone in the country had been offered it for free under the NHS.
Covid-19 vaccines are owned by the UK government licensed by Public Health England, and are not available for private sales.
But the attempt from The Hacking Trust to purchase vaccines will add to concerns over a black market for Covid jabs, with companies willing to spend thousands of pounds on single doses to get their hands on the vital jabs for their staff.
In the email seen by The Telegraph, the company introduced itself as a ‘private medical company who is looking to vaccinate their front-line staff as soon as possible’.
On its website, the company describes itself as ‘specialists in purchasing residential and commercial properties,’ and a ‘market leader in its sector and acts as principal for its own investment.
‘Our skill is structuring deals with expert legal and financial backing enabling us to get things done professionally and efficiently,’ the company’s website claims.
The email, with the subject line ‘Unused vaccine reward.’ said the company required ‘approx 20 vaccinations and we understand you are operating a Covid-19 vaccination centre.
On its website, the company describes itself as ‘specialists in purchasing residential and commercial properties,’ and claims ‘Our skill is structuring deals with expert legal and financial backing enabling us to get things done professionally and efficiently’
‘We have been informed that many appointments are not kept and some do not attend at all.
‘On this basis we would like to be informed as soon as possible of any ‘no shows’ or cancellations on any given day which would result in unnecessary wastage of the vaccination.’
The email continued, saying that The Hacking Trust would donate £5,000 to ‘the individual’, either ‘as a charitable donation or to the staff member directly.’
‘We are able to attend within a few hours following a telephone call email response. I look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency to discuss,’ it signed off.
The Hacking Trust, contacted for comment by the MailOnline, said: ‘The Hacking Health Trust has offered in open correspondence to some GP’s charitable donations to staff or surgeries in this difficult time for any vaccines which were unused.
‘We had heard that some vaccines were being unused due to missed appointments. We would apologise that our good intentions have been misinterpreted.’
Pictured: Nurse Sue Toye, 51, one of the first people to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a GP practice in England, is given the vaccination at Priory Gate Surgery at the City of Coventry Health Centre in Coventry, central England on January 7, 2021
The Telegraph reported that the email was sent to other GP surgeries, including one in Worthing in West Sussex.
The email – which came from the Wandsworth-based property company – claimed to be from a ‘private medical company’, and was sent from its Hacking Trust Medical division, which says on its website specialises in ‘looking to buy commercial medical properties on a nationwide basis’.
‘In this difficult time of raising capital it is proving to be a very successful and creative way of creating cash flow for practitioners,’ the website says.
‘You may be looking to raise equity to expand the surgery or to buy equipment. You may be looking to buy out retiring partners.’
It was reported last month that some wealthy people were offering to pay huge sums of money to skip to the front of the vaccine queue, with several British doctors said they had been sent numerous requests from such individuals.
Pictured: Practice Nurse Tina Sutton draws off a single dose from a vial, which can provide 10 individual doses to patients, of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine
One doctor and owner of Klink, a private clinic in Cheshire – Dr Roshan Ravindran – claimed some clients had offered £2,000 to be vaccinated, The Telegraph said.
Greg Clark, the MP for Tunbridge Wells and former Business Secretary, has called on any vaccines left over to be administered to front-line medical staff.
‘It is important that vaccines should be given in order of the age and vulnerability of patients. If there are ever any unused vaccines that need to be deployed by the NHS at the end of a day they should be offered first to critical workers,’ he said.
Robyn Clark, director of the Institute of General Practice Management tweeted that organisation was ‘appalled that a company would offer money in any capacity to effectively jump the queue for a vaccine’.
She continued: Practices are doing their upmost to ensure vaccine is given to the priority groups as laid out by the JCVI, as these are the most vulnerable in our society.
‘The NHS is free and equitable to patients, always will be.’
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: ‘Hundreds of NHS teams across the country are working hard to deliver vaccines quickly to those who would benefit most – people aged 80 and over and those who live or work in care homes – with doses also for our frontline health and social care workers.
‘NHS staff will never ask for, or accept, cash for vaccines, and the public will rightly take a dim view of anyone who tries to jump the queue.’
So far, three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK, with the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine – which started to be rolled out to the country’s most vulnerable people last month – offering up to 95 percent protection against Covid-19.
The Pfizer vaccine and another developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca are now being rolled out. A third from Moderna was approved for use in the UK Friday.
Britain today suffered its deadliest day since the Covid pandemic began after health chiefs declared 1,325 more Covid fatalities and another record-high 68,053 infections.
The grisly death toll – which has doubled in a week and surpasses the 1,224 declared on April 21 in the darkest day of the first wave – takes the UK to the brink of almost 80,000 victims.
Experts fear the daily death counts will continue to spiral because of rocketing cases and hospitalisations, piling further pressure on Boris Johnson to speed up the sluggish vaccination programme designed to get Britain out of lockdown by mid-February.
Department of Health figures show the UK has recorded more than 50,000 cases for 11 days in a row, with the five worst days of the pandemic all occurring since the start of 2021. Cases have risen by almost 30 per cent week-on-week.
But a senior SAGE official today warned the actual number of Britons currently getting infected every day is closer to 150,000, claiming that the size of the second wave is now way worse than the first.
The source also fears England’s third national lockdown will not ‘slam the R rate down as it did in March’ because the country was dealing with a more infectious mutated strain and because adherence to the rules has dwindled.
Draconian measures announced two days ago have yet to have an effect on the crisis because it can take a week for patients to develop symptoms and get tested. But the SAGE official argued that the tough restrictions will curb the spread of the virus because they curb social interaction, which the virus thrives on.
In yet another sign that darker days lie ahead, No10’s advisory panel today revealed the R rate could be as high as 1.4 in the UK or at the crucial mark of one, with outbreaks growing at similar speeds across all seven regions of England.
But the figure reflects the situation Britain found itself in before Christmas and not the current picture because of the data used to calculate it. SAGE last week estimated the figure – the average number of people each infected person passes the virus onto – was between 1.1 and 1.3.