Covid Scotland: Cancer patients forced to 'fight tooth and nail' for vaccine
Vulnerable Scots are being forced to “fight tooth and nail” to get their Covid-19 vaccines, a blood cancer charity has warned.
Myeloma UK has urged the Scottish Government to allow immunocompromised Scots to book their third vaccine dose online, amid reports that 10,000 vulnerable people are still waiting for an invitation.
While most people receive a first and second primary dose of vaccine, those who are immunocompromised are advised to get a third as they are given less protection than most.
This is in addition to a fourth dose which acts as a booster.
Myeloma UK called on the Scottish Government to follow in the footsteps of NHS England, which recently opened third dose online booking to those who are immunocompromised.
Denis Cairns, 68, from Dunkeld, has lived with myeloma for six years and struggled to get a third dose.
He was told by his GP that they did not offer third doses, but could not arrange one through his local health board either.
Eventually he “blagged his way through the door" of a drop-in vaccination centre.
Myeloma UK said Mr Cairns’ case was far from unusual.
Confusion between a third primary dose and a booster dose has led to patients being turned away from vaccination centres or missed off vaccination lists, the charity said.
Myeloma UK Chief Executive Laura Kerby said: “It is unfair that those in the devolved nations are unable to exercise the same self-direction in their care as those in England. We’re urging the Scottish government to act now to ensure that immunocompromised patients in Scotland can book their third Covid-19 jab online as soon as possible.”
Sarah McDonald, Myeloma UK Director of Research, said: “The good news is that, for patients in England and Northern Ireland, we are seeing the barriers to booking an appointment beginning to be removed; but we want the same for patients in Scotland.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “A third primary dose was recommended for people who were immunosuppressed at the time they received one of the two primary doses of the vaccines.
"At that time, those clinically judged to meet the criteria were invited by letter for a third dose. Anyone who received a letter but has not yet received their third dose should phone the helpline.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.