A group of pensioners queuing for the coronavirus vaccine were mistakenly reported to the police for fear they were attending an illegal rave.
A delay to the arrival of the vaccines caused a crowd to gather outside the Essex Freemasons’ Saxon Hall, leading to one onlooker to believe that they must have been there to take part in a ‘rave’.
The Essex police arrived at the Saxon Hall to reinforce the law, but they were surprised to find the crowd was older than they’d expected.
Dennis Baum, chairman of Saxon Hall, admitted it was ‘really funny’ when the police were met with ’80 and 90 year-olds on wheelchairs, and walking sticks patiently falling in line for their vaccines.
Baum said that the health workers at the hall had been anticipating the delivery of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, but it was the Pfizer one that eventually delivered at the later-than-scheduled time of 9:10 am.
This delay led to car traffic, which got worse when staff ran out of the vaccine and had to wait for more to arrive.
“It was absolute chaos and very cold. The car park became choc-a-bloc with 80 year-old-plus drivers,” Baum told Mixmag.
Baum added that ‘grumpy old men and grumpy old women were in abundance’, but despite the crowds, none of the attendees were doing anything illegal, like participating in the underground rave scene.
While the situation was not the one that required police interception, Essex Police used the opportunity to help disperse the crowd outside the Saxon Hall.
“As the good public of Essex know, where we receive reports of people clearly and flagrantly breaking the rules we will respond, but we’re also available to help the community when needed,” the department commented.
“Upon receiving reports of congestion at the vaccination center, a unit responded to offer help with traffic management, and returned later that day to check that everything was progressing smoothly for those getting their jabs.”
“No-one wants to see all of our communities getting the jab and being protected more than us at Essex Police, particularly our elderly and vulnerable communities and we will do all we can to support that.”
Despite the delays, Baum said that the grumpiness was balanced out with ‘many more very appreciative people [who] couldn’t have been more grateful to receive the vaccine and to Saxon Hall and the Freemasons for facilitating it’.