Claim to have hit vaccine target 'tenuous', says one of more than 100,000 eligible Scots without jag

The Scottish and UK governments’ claims to have hit a vaccination target of all over-50s and those with underlying health conditions are “very tenuous”, said a 60-year-old who has not yet been offered a jag.

Howard Spode is one of more than 100,000 Scots in the first nine JCVI vaccine priority groups who have not yet been given a vaccine dose.

As of close of play on Wednesday, almost 107,000 people with underlying health conditions had not received a first dose – some 14 per cent.

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Just under 62,000 people aged 50 to 59 had not had a dose – around 12 per cent.

Howard Spode, 60, has been told he will have to wait for a vaccine appointment.

These groups overlap, although it it not known by how much. Vaccine take-up is not expected to reach 100 per cent, although it has done so in some older age groups.

Around 14,000 more people are expected to be given a first dose before the end of Thursday, the Scottish Government deadline for offering a jag to everyone in JCVI priority groups one to nine – including over 50s and those with underlying health conditions.

The UK Government announced on Tuesday this target had been met, while Nicola Sturgeon said it had “effectively” been hit.

But Mr Spode has not yet received an appointment.

People walk passed a Vaccination Centre sign at the Royal Highland Show ground in Edinburgh in February.
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In response to the announcements of all over-50s having been offered an appointment, Mr Spode said: “UK ministers announced all over-50s, that’s all over-50s, had been offered a vaccine.

"Unless you stretch to very tenuous proportions the definition of the word all, it's simply not true.”

Mr Spode said he had “followed the rules” and waited for his vaccination letter, but then eventually contacted the national vaccine helpline.

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He was told he would be contacted within a week, but didn’t hear anything.

At the beginning of this week, he then said he had approached his local health board and was told he would “just have to wait”.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Dave Caesar issued an apology on Thursday to Scots in the first nine JCVI groups who had not yet been offered a vaccine.

“We recognise it will be a little unnerving,” Dr Caesar told BBC Good Morning Scotland on Thursday.

“So there’s an apology there if you’re feeling that way and if you might have fallen through the cracks”.

Dr Caesar acknowledged that some people in the first nine groups had not yet had an appointment scheduled, including some who had tried to arrange one themselves and been told to wait.

He asked these people to “stick with us”, saying the programme would get to them when it can.

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“The system is pretty robust, so that it will pick up these folk who might not have been captured by that first effort in due course,” he said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday the target had “effectively" been hit, but that in a programme of this scale there will always be people who “fall through the cracks”.

“I'm using the word ‘effectively’, just to recognise that in any big system, it's possible that somebody has been missed,” she said.

"Somebody’s address might not have been changed on their GP system or somebody’s letter might have gone missing."

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