Covid Scotland: Huge queues and 5 hour waits at Leith vaccine centre

Patients have reported waiting more than five hours for their Covid boosted jab at the Leith Community Treatment Centre.

By Shona Elliott and Dan Barker
Friday, 17th December 2021, 4:55 pm

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People desperate to get their Covid-19 boosted jab before the festive period have faced queueing for hours in the cold on Friday.

A queue of at least 100 chilly people was pictured waiting outside the centre, wrapped in winter jackets and wool hats.

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A queue of at least 100 chilly people was pictured waiting outside the centre in Leith.

Some of those had turned up hours in advance, with many taking the day off of work to get their next dose of the vaccine.

One woman had even taken her work with her, waiting in line with her laptop open.

Christoph Krupa, 24, turned up at 8.30am to get his vaccination, and was still waiting four hours later.

He wanted his second dose before going home to Switzerland for Christmas.

Lou Elliot, 20, said it was her second day of trying to get her booster and she had been queuing since about 10.30am.

On Thursday she was told the clinic could not take any more patients for jags at about 3pm.

People in the queue said they had seen people leave because they had got too cold, or were just fed up with waiting.

A 62-year-old woman from the Capital, who did not want to be named, said she had turned up at around 9am.

“I would rather I’m not queuing but that’s the way it is,” she said. “It’s alright for me, I’m not working, but there are others who have had to leave to pick up their kids and things.”

Susan Thornton, 42, arrived at the back of the queue at around midday with her one-year-old Guy in the hope that she could get her jag.

“I’m not going to stand here for hours,” she said.

Martin Richardson said he had arrived early but still had to wait four hours for his jab.

“I would have liked to have waited less,” the 28-year-old said after he finally got his vaccine.

He said members of the community had brought people in the queue food and drink, and he received a croissant and a hot drink.

Some left the centre without their jab

Due to the lengthy wait, some members of the public have had to leave the test centre without their jab.

Mother-of-two Alex Demetri tried to get her second dose at Leith Community Treatment Centre but had to abandon her plan after being told she would have to wait more than four hours.

She said: “It just annoys me because it’s so against what the Government is promoting, this whole idea of this massive drive to get everyone vaccinated, and it’s virtually impossible in a major city like Edinburgh to do that.

“I had to walk away without getting my vaccine, which is just infuriating.”

The 35-year-old financial services worker said she was hoping to be able to pop in and “get it in time for Christmas so that I can meet more safely with my family”.

She added: “I turned up and all you can see is the queue all the way down (Great) Junction Street, and I went in and there’s one woman on reception and she was like ‘the wait is four or five hours’.”

Not the first time large queues have formed a the vaccine centre

The centre has struggled to control numbers in the past; in October staff working in the Leith vaccine centre were forced to turn people away from their pre-booked appointments.

The confusion led to massive queues forming outside of the centre and disgruntled patients have to re-book appointments for the following day.

The issues were caused by a massive increase in uptake for the vaccine which appears to have caused problems again, as people rush to get their booster before Christmas.

Latest Covid figures show Omicron had replaced Delta as the dominant variant

Another reason for the increase in people seeking their vaccine booster is fear of the Omicron variant.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Nicola Sturgeon said that Omicron had replaced Delta as the dominant variant.

She confirmed that 4336 positive cases of Covid were reported yesterday. There were 696 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, however, Sturgeon said this number “underestimates the true volume of Omicron cases”.

She said that 51.4 per cent of reported cases were likely to be the Omicron variant, which has risen significantly from last Friday, when she announced that 15.5 per cent of cases were likely to be Omicron. This means that Omicron has now replaced Delta as the dominant COVID strain circulating in Scotland.

Edinburgh Health and Social Care, which is operationally responsible for the vaccination clinics, has been asked for comment.

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