Covid Edinburgh: Extra recruitment under way to ensure over-18s can get their booster vaccinations
Health bosses in Edinburgh are recruiting extra help to make sure all over-18s can get their Covid booster vaccinations now the age limit for the jags has been lowered.
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Donna Milne, deputy director of public health, said an appeal had been issued to health and social care staff to help with the vaccinations.
She told the city council's policy committee she was pleased with the progress of the booster programme among the older and most vulnerable groups, but the latest extension, offering the jags to 18-39 year-olds presented "a new challenge".
She said as of Monday, 81 per cent of people over 70 had had their Covid booster and their flu jag.
"All care home residents have now had their booster with the exception of about 75 who were either unwell or unavailable at the time and they will be picked up.
"And nearly all the housebound people should be completed by the end of this week and also people are clinically extremely vulnerable."
She said the biggest challenge with the expansion of booster eligibility to over-18s was finding staff to give the vaccinations.
"Because we are under pressure in health and social care generally, and the pressure is significant at this point, it makes us really difficult for us to get enough people into the vaccination programme to deliver vaccines, but we're working really hard on doing that, especially for the next month as we try to pick up the ask from government.
"We have put out a call for staff to come forward and we have a lot of part-time staff who might be willing to do full-time shifts for the next three or four weeks, so we are busy recruiting.
"We will concentrate on getting more and more vaccinators in as quickly as we can over the next few weeks so we can maintain the programme over the next couple of months."
Ms Milne said there were still a lot of unknowns about the new Omicron Covid variant, but urged people to stick to the recommended heath precautions.
"We do need to increase compliance with face coverings, particularly in public settings; we need to ensure we still maintain our hand-washing and cleaning of surfaces; and we would like people to continue using the lateral flow devices for testing if they're asymptomatic."
She said there were still some people who had not been vaccinated and some with just one dose and encouraged them to come forward.
"We will continue to identify cases and ask people to isolate and follow up their contacts and we will be having enhanced contact tracing to support that."