Leith vaccine centre forced to turn people away amid ‘massive' queues

An NHS Lothian vaccination centre has been forced to turn people away amid reports of “massive” queues outside – and chaotic scenes inside.

Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 4:55 am

Staff at the Leith Community Treatment Centre refused entry to at least 10 people on Monday, citing a surge in uptake following the implementation of the Scottish Government’s vaccine passport scheme introduced last week.

But NHS Lothian said that high turnout for multiple programs - including Covid-19 jags for teenagers, third doses for the clinically vulnerable and flu shots for the elderly - were behind the increased pressure on services.

One local resident told the Evening News of “massive queues” outside the the Junction Place facility when she arrived to receive her second Covid-19 jag on Monday.

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The 23-year-old said that she and several others could not be seen by clinicians due to the sheer number of people already inside - despite the fact that the centre was scheduled to be open for another 45 minutes.

“I was told to try again the next morning,” she explained, “but to make sure I arrived sooner rather than later because it would probably get busier as the day went on.”

When she returned to the clinic at 8:45am on Tuesday morning, she found “the same thing again.”

“A huge queue - and this time it was pouring rain. I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Staff at the Leith Community Treatment Centre refused entry to at least 10 people on Monday, citing a surge in uptake following the implementation of the Scottish Government’s vaccine passport scheme introduced last week.

"I just waited in it as I didn’t want to have to come back, but I saw several people leaving after queuing for a while because they couldn’t afford to wait any longer.”

After waiting for more than an hour, she received her second jag in what she described as a “stressful” and “chaotic” atmosphere.

“It was so different to my first jag - that was quick and simple,” she said, “this one was horrible, the whole thing was chaos.

“When I finally got inside I was moved several times while waiting, and then again at least three times during the ten minute period they ask you to stay for after your jag - it was like musical chairs!

NHS Lothian said that high turnout for multiple programs - including Covid-19 jags for teenagers, third doses for the clinically vulnerable and flu shots for the elderly - were behind the increased pressure on services.

"Nobody knew where to sit or stand, and one girl was shouted at by one of the staff for being in the way and not listening to their colleague.”

A spokesperson for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership said: “It’s really positive that so many people are turning out to get their vaccinations, helping to protect themselves and one another from the Covid virus.

“This is a complex vaccination programme and we’re offering appointments as well as drop-in sessions. We would urge anyone with an appointment to stick to the allotted time to minimise queuing.”

They added: “We’ll also soon be extending vaccination centre opening hours to minimise queues.”

It comes as the latest Scottish Government figures show that 4,223,719 Scots have now received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, with a further 3,849,656 having received their second dose.

In total, 92 per cent of the over-18 population is now fully vaccinated with two doses.

In addition, 72 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds, and 26 per cent of 12 to 15-year-olds, have had a first dose.

For most people in these age groups only a single dose is currently recommended.

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