Vaccine ‘fatigue’ blamed for low uptake of pneumococcal programme

Vaccine ‘fatigue’ in the wake of the covid pandemic may be the reason up to 40 per cent of people failed to take up appointments in Midlothian for an important jab.
​Midlothian Community Hospital. (Google Maps)​Midlothian Community Hospital. (Google Maps)
​Midlothian Community Hospital. (Google Maps)

Midlothian health bosses said the pneumococcal vaccine, which prevents serious illnesses including pneumonia and bacterial meningitis other other conditions such as severe ear infections, was not taken up as much as they had hoped.

And the county’s head of services for primary care said it may be that people were being put off by the number of vaccines they were being asked to have at the same time.

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Grace Cowan told a meeting of Midlothian Integration Joint Board that while there had been a “huge push” for seasonal Covid and flu vaccines, the pneumococcal programme had seen a large number of people not attending.

She said people were also being offered a shingles vaccine which has been taken up by nearly 2000 eligible residents.

Ms Cowan said: “There has been a huge push of Covid and flu vaccines and people are coming and getting those, they’re possibly not wanting four vaccines at the same time so we will need to follow that up.”

The Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership vaccination team relocated to Midlothian Community Hospital to consolidate service delivery on to one site for the winter flu and Covid 19 vaccination programme.

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It was suggested this may have had an impact on people turning up for appointments for the other vaccines.

A report to the board said housebound patients had received their vaccinations and the shingles campaign to have people take it up will continue until the end of August this year.

However it said: “The Pneumococcal Vaccine programme has seen 35%-40% “Did not Attend rate”.

"Work is ongoing to promote this through GP practices and primary care teams.”

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The pneumococcal vaccine is offered to over 65s and although some people under 65 are also eligible for the vaccine if they have certain health conditions and who are considered vulnerable. People only require one dose in their lifetime.

The board was told people who had not attended appointments were being contacted again.