Covid Edinburgh: NHS Lothian hopes to complete booster jags by end of January
Health bosses in Lothian say they hope to be able to meet the national target of offering all eligible adults a booster jag by the end of January.
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A report to the NHS Lothian board said on November 3 the government had required all boards across Scotland to increase capacity for the booster and flu jags to ensure these vaccinations could be completed before December 25. But NHS Lothian said at the time this was "not possible" because it would mean operating at 144 per cent of capacity.
Today NHS Lothian said the situation had changed significantly since November, with the expansion of who is eligible for the vaccinations, a reduction in the required gap between second dose and booster from six months to three, and the expectation of when boosters will be offered to people.
A spokeswoman said: “The new national position, which Lothian’s vaccination programme is working to, is that everyone will be offered a booster by the end of January.”
Fiona Ireland, interim nurse director at NHS Lothian, said: “The Covid-19 vaccine and booster programme remains our best defence against the virus and the new Omicron variant.
“Following new advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) our vaccination teams are gearing up to ensure they can deliver as many doses as quickly as possible to provide that vital protection.
“We have made it as easy as possible for people to get their vaccine by creating a network of clinics in the heart of our communities that offer both drop-in and scheduled appointments.
“We are also boosting our ranks by recruiting many more vaccinators, encouraging people who have recently retired to return, and training other recruits including students to join our army of vaccinators.
“This will help ensure that more appointments are added to the 90,000 currently available over the coming weeks as the programme is extended to more people across Scotland.”
Anyone over the age of 40, and all priority groups previously invited, can currently book an appointment. More booking information for 18-39s is expected to be announced soon by the Scottish Government.