Retired Gurkhas have complained of being ignored by the NHS for Covid-19 vaccinations, despite hundreds of doses apparently going spare near their homes.

More than 400 ex-Gurkhas living in the Greenwich area of London are among pensioners yet to be invited amid questions over the speed of the NHS booking system, The Telegraph can disclose.

Meanwhile, ministers launched an urgent review after the Milly Dowler killer Levi Bellfield was among high security prisoners told they would be invited for vaccines in the coming weeks.

Rajen Kandel, group director of the NHS Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy, said he had enough Oxford vaccine doses “sitting in the fridge” to jab nearly 400 people every day, but only 50 people were being booked in by the NHS daily.

He added that the over-70s overlooked for jabs included hundreds of ex-Gurkhas, many of whom moved to the area after winning the right to settle in the UK in 2009.

“We are here waiting for people but the bookings are not coming through,” Mr Kandel told The Telegraph.

“We have more than a thousand doses of the Oxford vaccine but hardly anyone to vaccinate. The vaccine is sitting in the fridge. Something is clearly going wrong between the central NHS and GPs because these letters are not going out quickly enough. Lots of the people missing out are ex-Gurkhas, and that’s wrong.”

Mr Kandel, whose pharmacy is among 15 in London offering jabs, said his staff had tried to use the NHS booking website to arrange jabs for people aged over 70 including ex-Gurkhas, only to be told they were ineligible.

Prem Jung Shahi, vice president of the Greenwich Gurkha Ex-Servicemen Association, urged the NHS to invite his members to take up the hundreds of jabs going spare.

“It is difficult for us because we know there are vaccines available nearby but the NHS are not sending us the letters,” he told The Telegraph. “The NHS seems to be moving very slowly.”



Comments are closed