OAPs are ‘discovering their younger pals’ have had Covid jab before them

Older residents are ‘discovering their younger pals’ are receiving Covid-19 vaccination jabs before them, health chiefs have revealed.
Elizabeth Anne Kirk, being given the vaccine at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, on Wednesday.Elizabeth Anne Kirk, being given the vaccine at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, on Wednesday.
Elizabeth Anne Kirk, being given the vaccine at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, on Wednesday.

At a meeting of the NHS Lothian’s board committee today, Colin Briggs, director of strategic planning, gave an update on the latest figures.

According to Mr Briggs, 27,721 (92%) of the region’s 30,546 over-80s have had their first dose of the vaccine, and 5,604 of the 26,718 75 to 79-year-olds have received jags.

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Unlike many other health boards in Scotland, NHS Lothian is vaccinating over 75s and ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ individuals in GP surgeries, and health chiefs have warned this could mean younger groups receive the jags in mass vaccination centres ahead of older groups in GP surgeries.

Esther Robertson interim chair of NHS LothianEsther Robertson interim chair of NHS Lothian
Esther Robertson interim chair of NHS Lothian

Mr Briggs told the health board meeting: “The biggest issues that need to be flagged up at the moment is the pace at which this is moving, and the need to be very clear on who exactly is going to be vaccinated and in what order.

“That applies particularly to staff, but also applies to the bringing forward of younger age groups through the mass vaccination centres, when individual GP practices may not have received the individual supply needed to be able to vaccinate older age groups or the housebound.

“I think those are the two major issues, and that will not be surprising to anyone.”

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Esther Robertson, interim chair of NHS Lothian, said: “It would be really helpful if we could get out more widely, that 70 to 74-year-olds are being done by the national system, 75-plus are being doing by their GPs, because what’s happening is lots of the over-70s are discovering their pals who are younger are being done ahead of them, and it’s only because of the different approaches.

“I think that’s clearly articulated on our website, so maybe it’s a message for officers to take up locally, and across the country, if there’s any way to get that message out, because I think older people might be beginning to panic that something has gone wrong, because they haven’t heard from their GP yet, and yet everyone seems to be sure we’ll be on target to have completed that group by the end of the week.”

Tracey Gillies, NHS Lothian’s medical director, said: “The situation across Scotland is different in different areas for the 70 to 79 cohort.

“In Lothian, we have taken the decision that 75 to 79 and the clinically extremely vulnerable will be done through their GP practice, and 70 to 74 will done through the mass vaccination centres - that’s not the same everywhere, and in other parts of the country, the whole 70 to 79 cohort is being done through mass vaccination centres.

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“It’s quite important that if we’re giving advice to friends, the Lothian mechanism is not the same as elsewhere.”

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