Gospel Oak pharmacy overwhelmed by residents wanting booster jabs

booster jabs Macey Chemist

Hampstead's Macey Chemist is offering booster jabs to the community. - Credit: Kalpen Patel

A Gospel Oak chemist has been inundated with residents trying to get their third Covid-19 vaccines.

Macey Chemist in Mansfield Road opened as a vaccination centre 12 weeks ago, but owner Kalpen Patel said more people than ever had been turning up this week for a booster jab.

Kalpen, who also owns Simmonds Chemists in Swain's Lane and Highgate's Eico Pharmacy, said on Monday morning this week he left to take his father-in-law to a doctors' appointment. In his absence, queues of people waiting for up to an hour developed. 

Macey Chemist

Kalpen said he apologised to his staff following the 'abuse' they received from frustrated customers. - Credit: Kalpen Patel

He told the Ham&High: "Yesterday was an unusual day, and it was a steep learning curb for us.

"People kept bringing partners in with them and demanding that they were also given a vaccine, despite not having an appointment.

"My staff were abused and sworn at, my pharmacist was in tears. It was not nice."

The pharmacy set up a marquee to keep people sheltered from the torrential rain as the waited, but some became frustrated that they had not been seen at their appointment times.


Macey Chemist set up a marquee outside - Credit: Kalpen Patel

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Macey was also incorrectly listed on the NHS' website as providing walk-in jabs, he said, adding to the build-up of people.

Ronald Baylin, 77, said when  he arrived for his 11am appointment he was told to wait outside for an hour.

He said: "I told them I wasn't going to wait in the cold, so they said to come back at 4pm when they had no more appointments, but when I came back there was still a long wait.

people under marquee

77-year-old Ronald Baylin said people were forced to huddle together outside the chemists - Credit: Ronald Baylin

"That's when I went bananas and went to the front of the queue. Elderly people shouldn't be standing outside huddled together under an umbrella, it's dangerous."

Kalpen said he understood people's frustrations and had learnt from the previous day's mistakes.

"Today we were even busier but everything has been smooth sailing," he said.

"We learn every day how to improve. But I won't tolerate abuse towards my staff, if I had been here I would have thrown them out.

Macey Chemist vaccines

The chemist has been offering vaccines for the past 12 weeks - Credit: Kalpen Patel

"Most people are just grateful for what we're doing, and a 'thank you' makes my day.

"We've been here for so many years, most of my patients know me, and coming for their vaccines is like a social gathering."