Travel concierge service charging members £40,000 for private Covid jab

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Travel concierge service charging members £40,000 for private Covid jab

An elite members-only travel concierge service is charging the world's mega-rich £40,000 to fly them out to Dubai and India for a Covid vaccine.The

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An elite members-only travel concierge service is charging the world’s mega-rich £40,000 to fly them out to Dubai and India for a Covid vaccine.

The Knightsbridge Circle is offering its hand-picked members first-class travel to countries who administer the sought-after vaccine privately.

The club has been offering both the Pfizer and the Sinopharm jabs in the UAE, its founder Stuart McNeill has revealed. 

The enormous £40,000 fee covers membership, first-class flights on Emirates and accommodation in a sea-view apartment as well as the jab. 

On another day of coronavirus carnage:

  • Sadiq Khan has complained that London is not getting its ‘fair share’ of vaccine after a local breakdown of where the doses have been administered was released; 
  • Ministers faced accusations of failing to protect the UK today as they prepare to ban flights from Brazil days after a new Covid super-strain emerged; 
  • A requirement for UK arrivals to have tested negative within the previous 72 hours, announced last week and due to come into force tomorrow, has been delayed until Monday;
  • A total of 4.46million people were waiting to start hospital treatment in England at the end of November, the highest since records began; 
  • Boots and Superdrug have started dishing out coronavirus vaccines this morning after No10 finally turned to the high street to deliver its lockdown-ending promise of immunising almost 14million people by mid-February. 
The Knightsbridge Circle - an elite members-only travel concierge service (its founder Stuart McNeill, pictured) - is charging the world's mega-rich £40,000 to fly them out to Dubai and India for a Covid vaccine

The Knightsbridge Circle has been offering both the Pfizer and the Sinopharm jabs in the UAE, its founder Stuart McNeill (pictured) has revealed

An elite members-only travel concierge service is charging the world’s mega-rich £40,000 to fly them out to Dubai and India for a Covid vaccine. The Knightsbridge Circle has been offering both the Pfizer and the Sinopharm jabs in the UAE, its founder Stuart McNeill (pictured) has revealed

The enormous £40,000 fee covers membership (the description of its membership on the club's website, pictured), first-class flights on Emirates and accommodation in a sea-view apartment as well as the jab

The enormous £40,000 fee covers membership (the description of its membership on the club’s website, pictured), first-class flights on Emirates and accommodation in a sea-view apartment as well as the jab

Dubai tourists needing negative result 72 hours before flying to UK can get PCR swab for £50

By Mark Duell for MailOnline 

People in Dubai trying to get a coronavirus test must only pay up to £50, it emerged today after the United Arab Emirates was removed from the UK’s travel corridor list.

Those in the UAE can obtain private polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at drive-thru centres or be visited at homes or offices, with results in as little as eight hours.

This is much cheaper than the cost in Britain, especially in London where tests can be up to £300 each with some taking up to three days for the results to come back.

Other private Covid-19 PCR tests from Government-approved providers in the UK can be cheaper at around £100 each but still have a results turnaround of 24 hours. 

From 8am on Saturday, tourists travelling from or through Britain and arriving in Dubai must have a negative PCR test taken less than 96 hours before departure.

Before then, passengers arriving from the UK can take a PCR test on arrival at Dubai International Airport – but this will no longer meet requirements from Saturday.

For those travelling in the opposite direction towards Britain, from 4am this Friday, all Britons as well as foreign travellers must have a negative test within 72 hours of boarding a UK-bound plane or be turned away by their carrier.

Authorities in Dubai favour PCR testing, with other certificates such as antibody tests and home testing kits not accepted by officials in the UAE upon arrival.

Among the testing sites in the UAE is Dubai Festival City where Al-Futtaim HealthHub operates drive-through tests for £27 (AED 135) which do not need to be pre-booked.

People can get their results in eight to ten hours at the location with a fast-track test for £30 (AED 150) at the same centre which is open every day from 7am to 6pm.

There are a number of priority categories of people eligible for free testing, including UAE nationals, residents aged over 50 and those suffering from chronic disease. 

Mr McNeill said his wealthy clients have ‘business meetings’ in Dubai meaning they can get around Britain’s ban on non-essential foreign travel during lockdown. 

As of this week, the Oxford Astrazenica vaccine can be offered in India for the same fee, Mr McNeill said.

For this trip, clients are offered a villa with a pool, a personal chef and household staff. 

Many opt to stay in the country they flew to for the 21-day wait between vaccinations – but many opt to fly somewhere else for a holiday.  

Mr McNeill told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s very exciting to say that we can offer the vaccine now. We’ve been proactive in offering it to all of our existing members.’

When asked about the moral implications of administering the jab privately, Mr McNeill all of the people receiving the jab through his club are over 65 – and many are members’ parents or grandparents. 

He added: ‘I feel that everybody who has access to private [healthcare should be able to be vaccinated] – as long as we offer it to the right people.’  

While the world’s richest are able to jet off for a private jab, in the UK vaccine shortages mean doses are having to be spread out, leaving some of the most-vulnerable without. 

The Government has opted to extend the gap between the first and second jab to 12 weeks to allow it to be administered to a greater number of people.

Ministers have set a target of vaccinating the 13 million people in the top four priority groups – which includes the over-80s – by mid-February.  

Care home residents, vulnerable people and frontline health workers are also first in line for jabs of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines. 

Yesterday, it was revealed GPs leading Britain’s great vaccination drive have been forced to pause inoculations to allow other parts of the country to catch up.

Practices that have already vaccinated every patient over the age of 80 and are now looking to dish the jabs out to the over-70s have had their deliveries cancelled by NHS leaders, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Government sources claim ministers are deliberately trying to spread out limited supplies in case the immunisation programme is accused of being a postcode lottery.

Dr John Bedson, a GP in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, claimed today his practice had not yet been able to vaccinate a single patient, despite surgeries in more affluent areas of North Staffordshire already administering ‘thousands’ of doses. 

Matt Hancock hinted yesterday that a lack of supply was behind the decision to delay jabs despite the vaccination scheme desperately needing to get up to speed to reach its goal of jabbing 13million Brits by mid-February. 

Quizzed over reports that GPs are having to pause vaccinations to let other practices catch up, the Health Secretary told BBC Radio’s 4 Today Programme on Wednesday: ‘The rate-limiting step on the rollout is the supply of the vaccine itself. 

‘We are now managing to get that supply more than we have done before and it will increase over the next few weeks. We have the capacity to get that vaccine out. The challenge is that we need to get the vaccine in.

‘What I know is that the supply will increase over the next few weeks and that means the very rapid rate that we are going at at the moment will continue to accelerate over the next couple of weeks.’ 

Last week, a London property investment firm was forced to apologise after its ‘appalling’ bid to skip the coronavirus vaccine queue by offering doctors £5,000 for each jab given to its staff.

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.

The company sent an email to NHS surgeries offering a ‘reward’ for vaccinating its ‘frontline staff’, The Telegraph reported.

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’. 

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. 

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

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

‘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.

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'

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’

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

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

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.’

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