17,000 clinically vulnerable Scots 'mopped up' with Covid-19 vaccination after Scottish Government target

Almost 17,000 clinically vulnerable Scots were “mopped up” with vaccination after the Scottish Government target to deliver a first dose to everyone in that group, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has said.

A patient sits in the observation area after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine at the Royal Highland Showground near Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday February 4, 2021.

The target for vaccination of all Scots over 70 and those in the clinically extremely vulnerable or shielding group was February 15.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on that date that everyone in those groups had been offered a vaccine.

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When figures subsequently released showed that just 80 per cent of those in the shielding category had been given a vaccine, Scottish Conservatives accused the First Minister of “misleading” the public.

The Scottish Government called the claim “completely untrue”, and said that a first dose had been offered to “all people with a serious clinical vulnerability”.

A government spokesperson said that just 80 per cent of the group had taken up this offer – a rate of uptake which the Scottish Government had predicted and which as such was considered to have hit the target.

Since February 15 some 16,611 people in the shielding category have received a first dose, bringing the total to 89 per cent of that group.

Asked why so many vaccinations had taken place after the announcement that all members of the group had been offered a dose, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government “continues to reach people” in that group.

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She told the coronavirus daily briefing on Wednesday: “We continue to reach people, and we continue to have people come forward who may feel that they have been missed, contacting our national vaccination line or their GP practice,” she said.

"Where that actually is the case then we – please don’t take it as disrespectful – we mop those up.

"That is a feature of vaccination programmes, it’s a feature of our flu vaccination programme, and a feature of all vaccination programmes.

"We are really determined to reach every single adult over the age of 18 as quickly as we can.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said the clinically extremely vulnerable group is not a “static” group, and that more people may be added to it as they are assessed by their GP.

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