This month my office has been inundated by constituents experiencing massive problems getting the flu vaccine and queuing for hours in all weathers to get their jabs.
Of course, this year the vaccine is incredibly important because of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been heavily advertised by the government to encourage uptake. It is therefore absolutely essential everyone in vulnerable groups receives the flu jab in a timeous and controlled fashion. Unfortunately, the Scottish Government’s handling has been a disaster. Initially there was the decision to transfer responsibility from GPs – who normally administer the jag – to local health boards. Before the decision by the Scottish Government to use a system, SIRS, normally used for childhood immunisations, which automatically prioritises the youngest patients. This meant 65 year olds being prioritised over 85 year olds.
We are now in a situation where elderly and vulnerable residents are being asked to attend health centres and stand in long sprawling queues, outdoors with no social distancing. The whole process has been a farce and has left many of the most vulnerable shaken and distressed.
If you or a family member has had issues with the jab please get in touch with my office and we will pass these experiences to the Scottish government and NHS Lothian so the system can be improved.