Coronavirus in Scotland: Concern over 'confusion and wasted resources' caused by duplicate vaccine appointments

NHS Scotland is working to resolve an issue resulting in elderly Scots being sent appointment letters for a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine despite already having had the jab.
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Chief Executive of NHS Scotland Caroline Lamb said staff are “working very hard” to resolve the issue, which has been particularly prevalent in Fife, and she does not expect it to continue for too long in the future.

Asked about the problem during the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Committee meeting on Thursday, Dr Andrew Buist, Chair of the GP’s Committee at BMA Scotland, called it “undesirable, confusing and wasteful of resources", adding it is “one of these little things we need to iron out”.

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He added that the vaccine appointment and booking system has been "one of the biggest challenges” of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, likening it to “building a ship while you float”.

A Royal Mail delivery worker wearing a mask. Picture: PAA Royal Mail delivery worker wearing a mask. Picture: PA
A Royal Mail delivery worker wearing a mask. Picture: PA

But he said issues such as this should not negate the progress made on the vaccine rollout.

Dr Buist praised the progress of vaccination in Scotland, which he had previously been critical of, saying “I think we’re in a different place now”.

Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie, who raised the issue of duplicate appointments, called it a “sizeable problem”.

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"I just want to know whether that problem is going to be resolved, because it could lead to unused appointments," he said.

Caroline Lamb said she was aware of the issue, and said staff were working to make sure all data was “linked up”,

“There is a huge amount of logistical complexity to be dealt with in this programme,” she said.

"We're not going to get everything right first time, but we are working really hard to learn from the things that don't go quite right the first time, and to make sure that we get them right for the future.”

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One Fife resident said he was aware of several over 80s in the area, including his mother-in-law, who had received letters about a first vaccine appointment several weeks after already being given a dose.

"If this is a wide spread problem it represents a serious disruption to the vaccine programme,” he said.

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