Calls for clarity after older people in Edinburgh have appointments for first dose of Covid vaccine delayed

Health bosses in Lothian are being urged to explain why some people have had the first dose of their Covid vaccination postponed.
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Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said he had been contacted by several constituents who were concerned after being given dates for their first jag and then sent letters delaying the appointment by up to a month.

He said those affected were older people either in homes or living at home, who were due to receive vaccinations at GP surgeries or elsewhere.

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But after being sent appointments they were contacted again and given a new date between a week and a month after the original one.

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Mr Johnson said he recognised distributing the vaccine was a huge logistical challenge but called for people to be given an explanation of the situation.

He said: “The roll out of the vaccine is clearly complicated and challenging. Nonetheless I urge SNP ministers and the health board to clarify the situation for all those who have had postponed vaccination appointments.

“These have been anxious months especially for those in vulnerable groups such as the elderly, unexpected deferrals such as these risk causing more concern. We need clear communication about how and when vaccines will be administered and reassurance when these appointments are delayed.”

(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)
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The top priority groups for receiving the vaccine are residents in care homes and their carers, people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

NHS Lothian said there had been no delay in obtaining the vaccine or in the amount supplied.

Covid vaccination project lead David Small said: “NHS Lothian has been vaccinating older people in care homes since the week beginning December 14. The programme has been designed to have a degree of flexibility built into it, to help manage for any change in circumstances that may arise, for example care homes closing following Covid outbreaks.

Vaccination by GPs for those over 80 and who are living at home have not yet commenced, and our understanding is that appointments have not yet been issued for this group of patients.”

(Photo by Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)(Photo by Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Buchanan - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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The concerns about delays to the first dose of the vaccine came as health union Unison called on the Scottish Government to honour scheduled dates for staff to receive their second jag or risk thousands of vaccination slots being wasted across the country.

All UK administrations have decided to extend the time between the two doses so more people can receive their first dose more quickly and increase protection against the virus.

But Unison criticised the move to cancel second-dose appointments and rebook the dates to give other staff their first jag.

Tom Waterson, chair of Unison Scotland’s health committee, said: “This week, in NHS Lothian alone, there are 5,500 staff booked in for their second dose vaccination. It is unrealistic to think these slots can be cancelled and re-booked with just a few days’ notice and there is a very real risk that thousands of these vaccination slots will be wasted.

Some patients had their vaccine appointment delayed by up to a monthSome patients had their vaccine appointment delayed by up to a month
Some patients had their vaccine appointment delayed by up to a month
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“This flies in the face of the Scottish Government’s plans to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“The Scottish Government needs to honour the agreed dates for the second dose vaccinations to prevent both wastage and any undue stress on already under-pressure health and social care staff.”

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