NURSERY workers who were officially told they could book to get the coronavirus vaccine have reportedly been turned away from appointments.

The Argus received messages from several childcare staff in Brighton who were unable to get their jab over the weekend at the Brighton Centre, having booked an appointment.

One worker, who did not wish to named, estimated that more than 100 nursery workers who had appointments missed out on the jab.

This included those who did not turn up for appointments, after being told by colleagues they had been refused entry.

READ MORE: When will I get my Covid vaccine? What is the priority list?

She said: "On Friday, staff at the NHS 119 service confirmed we are social care frontline key workers who can access the vaccine.

"Other nursery staff around the country then booked online for their vaccine, and many successfully received it - including in Eastbourne and Crawley.

The Argus:

"But Brighton Centre is turning nursery staff away from booked appointments as they don’t recognise the sector as being able to access it.

"What a waste of the vaccine and what a waste of appointments. It seems to be a postcode lottery in accessing the jab.

"It was completely demoralising to be turned away."

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Another nursery worker said she had called the NHS 119 booking service three times to "triple check" she was eligible for the jab.

She said: "It was confirmed on the phone I was eligible and I should keep my booking.

"But on Saturday morning at least 12 nursery workers I know were turned away by staff at the Brighton Centre and told the information which had led them all to make the booking was false.

"This is outrageous.

The Argus: NHS staff queuing for the Covid vaccine outside Sussex House in Kemp Town last monthNHS staff queuing for the Covid vaccine outside Sussex House in Kemp Town last month

"These girls came with letters from their employers and their ID in hand, after being reassured they had been added to the list."

There has been similar stories in other parts of the country.

On Sunday it was reported that hundreds of social care professionals, including nursery workers, were turned away from appointments at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford over the weekend, having booked appointments.

Since Friday there has been confusion over access to vaccinations for early years providers in England, after the online booking system was opened up to social care workers for self-referral.

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The Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) issued a joint statement with the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) and the Early Years Alliance on Friday.

It stated that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) had not changed its definition of who is included in its social care worker group as prioritised for vaccination and that early years and childcare practitioners, including nannies and childminders, are not included in this group.

However, PACEY said a number of childcare and early years practitioners are still being given vaccination appointments through the NHS online booking system and 119 phone line, and the organisation "continues to wait for clarification as to why this is happening".

It said: "PACEY along with EYA and NDNA continue to lobby government to prioritise early years and childcare practitioner for vaccination once the most vulnerable have been protected.

"Given this ongoing confusion, it’s vital that the JCVI and Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) finalise their priorities for occupational vaccination as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Brighton council to shut nurseries in city to protect families

"Vaccinations for early years and childcare providers must be offered on a national basis and providers should not have to contend with a post-code lottery for access to the protection they deserve as they carry out their vital roles."

When asked about nursery staff being turned away at the Brighton Centre, a DHSC spokesman said: "Nursery workers will only be eligible for vaccination if they are included in groups 1-6 – i.e. they are over 65, are clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying health conditions listed in JCVI’s adice.

The Argus: A vial of doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccineA vial of doses of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

"Anyone who does not meet this criteria, is not eligible for vaccination yet. We expect the JCVI list to be followed by the NHS and local authorities."

A spokesperson for the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust said: “We continue to vaccinate people in priority cohorts set by the JCVI, and local authorities are helping to identify eligible social care staff.

“People who booked in error are rightly asked to wait their turn so we can prioritise those eligible for vaccination, including older residents and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.”