Residents directed to Edinburgh International Conference centre for their jags despite vaccination hub on their doorstep

People in Muirhouse, who can see a Covid vaccination hub from their window, are being sent miles away to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre for their jag, MSPs have been told.
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre opened as a vaccination centre for over-70s on Monday.The Edinburgh International Conference Centre opened as a vaccination centre for over-70s on Monday.
The Edinburgh International Conference Centre opened as a vaccination centre for over-70s on Monday.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament, Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “Pennywell All Care Centre has been designated a vaccination hub because it is located in the middle of one of Scotland’s most deprived communitites.

“We have learned from local GPs that appointments there have been given to people from elsewhere; the people in Muirhouse, who can see the building from their front living room window, are being sent to the EICC, two whole bus journeys away. That makes absolutely no sense to them.

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"Doctors think this is bound to have an impact on the take-up of the vaccine. The First Minister knows this is happening elsewhere too. What on earth is going on with this appointment system?”

But Nicola Sturgeon defended the Scottish Government’s vaccine programme.

She said: “Yes, sometimes people will be asked to go to a centre that is further away than their own GP but that is so we can get through more people more quickly, which I thought is what everybody wanted.

"Willie Rennie says this must all be having an impact on uptake – we have record high uptake figures right now.

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“If you had told me just a few weeks ago that we would be at 90 per cent of over 80s actually having been vaccinated I would have struggled to believe it.

"The evidence is not that anything we are doing is depressing uptake. On the contrary, uptake is brilliant so far in this programme – and that’s a real tribute to people in the communities wanting to come forward to help in this collective national effort to beat Covid.”

Edinburgh Western MSP and Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said afterwards: “It made absolute sense when Pennywell All Care was designated a vaccination hub because deprived communities really need a facility on their doorstep to maximise uptake. To learn these vulnerable residents are being invited to appointments at the EICC, several miles and potentially two bus journeys away, is just ridiculous. This is going to have a massively detrimental impact on uptake in the communities that arguably need it most.”

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