Shocked vaccine volunteer handed parking fine while administering jabs to public

Shocked vaccine volunteer handed parking fine while administering jabs to public

12/14/2021

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Claudia Coelho from Kingston in London has been volunteering to help with the fight against Coronavirus since the start of the pandemic early last year. Working throughout the boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton she began by delivering food and medicine to the vulnerable.

She then trained to administer vaccines, and it was in July while she gave people the jab that she picked up the parking ticket for leaving her car next to a local church acting as a drop-in centre.

And her appeal to have the ticket cancelled fell on deaf ears.

Claudia said: “Most people who were coming in for a vaccine were walking or taking the bus as the church is in the community.

“The spaces were limited in the area, so I would sometimes park there if I had no other choice.

Claudia explained that due to a lack of parking spaces in the area surrounding St. Barnabus church she often had to leave her car where the public were dropping off to get their jabs.

“There was plenty of room for anyone else and I never had any issues prior to this,” she said.

“There is a couple of spaces in the church, but they’re usually left for the doctors.

“You can park in resident areas, but not between 1pm and 2pm, which was usually the middle of my shift.”

Claudia said she understood the need to consider people living in the area and the influx the drop-in centre brought.

“I deliberately never parked in resident areas – as I wouldn’t want to take it away from residents,” she said.

And despite living half an hour away, she would travel to Wandsworth at her own expense to help out.

Claudia said: “I’ve spent countless hours and my own money commuting and parking. I have never claimed any cost back for transportation and I have always provided for myself.”

Despite this, Claudia’s appeal against the parking fine was rejected by Richmond and Wandsworth’s Parking compliance team, leading to her contacting Kim Caddy, Cabinet member for housing at Wandsworth council.

“Kim seemed to be equally disappointed and spent the next couple of months arguing it,” said Claudia.

“On November 2, I told Kim that I had to pay, or I was at risk of prosecution.”

Because the fine wasn’t paid within two weeks, it doubled to £110, although that was then reduced back to £55 on appeal.

Claudia has been left saddened by the borough’s decision but feels some things are more important

“For the council to take this as a very black and white issue, you know ‘rules are rules’, when we are in a global pandemic, is disappointing,” she said.

“Human connection and the community are more important than anything, especially over pounds and pence.”

A council spokesman said: “While of course we welcome and applaud the efforts of all vaccine volunteers, in this case the person parked in a dedicated space set up for use only by people visiting the centre to get vaccinated, which disrupted the smooth operation of the vaccination hub and made it more difficult for people to attend for their jabs.”

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