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Scotland’s winter vaccination programme gets underway

By David Porter

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People aged 65 and over as well as frontline health and social care staff will be first in line for a winter booster jab to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19 and ease the pressure on hospitals.

Winter boosters are set to get underway.
Winter boosters are set to get underway.

Letters with appointment times for those aged 65 and over will begin landing on doormats this week so the NHS can get ahead of any potential surge in infections.

The booster jabs will be given at the same time as the flu vaccine to those eligible where possible – evidence shows that administration of both vaccines together is a safe and efficient way to deliver maximum protection over the winter months.

From August 22 the online portal will be available for health and social care workers to book their appointments.

Staff should book on the portal or follow advice from their boards on any local arrangements.

Appointments for all other priority groups will be made available as the programme progresses – people in those groups should wait until they are contacted or called forward.

The programme follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) which recommended vaccinating people as soon as possible to have the best chance of mitigating the impact of Covid-19 over the winter.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “As was the case in previous rounds of the vaccination programme, spring/summer boosters have enjoyed very high uptake among eligible groups with 86 per cent of older adult care home residents and 93 per cent of those aged 75 and over gaining an important additional layer of protection at a time when Covid cases rose sharply.

“I’d like to thank all those who have worked so hard to ensure that Scotland still has the highest overall uptake of first, second and third doses in the UK.

“Following the JCVI’s recommendations, we will roll out the winter booster programme getting jabs in arms from early September to ensure those most at risk are protected over winter.

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect your health and those around you – I strongly encourage everyone to take up the offer of a booster jab when they get the call up.”

The following groups will be offered an additional COVID-19 booster-

Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults.

Frontline health and social care workers.

All adults aged 50 years and over.

Those aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group, including those who are pregnant.

Those aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression.

Carers aged 16-49 years.

Eligible cohorts should wait until they are contacted or called forward.

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