Prof Jason Leitch: Scots need to ‘hold their nerve a little bit’ as they wait for coronavirus vaccine

Professor Jason Leitch has said people in Scotland need to “hold their nerve a little bit” and be patient as the phased rollout of Covid vaccinations continues.

As the inoculation programme moves through priority groups, several health board areas are beginning to send out letters telling those in different age groups when they will receive their first dose of the Covid-19 jab.

Vaccination appointments for people aged 70-79 are being delivered from Monday, while vaccinations for over 80s are continuing, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealing on Sunday that about 40% of this age group had received a first dose of the vaccine.

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Appearing on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland on Monday, Scotland's National Clinical Director said those expecting a letter in the post about the vaccination should wait at least a couple of weeks for them to arrive.

He said: “Wait for a couple of weeks for us, particularly if you're in the over 70s group. I know it's really difficult.

“My parents were very, very impatient for the three weeks before they got a phone call, and then suddenly they got a call last Wednesday and were vaccinated on Thursday.

“So people just need to hold their nerve a little bit.”

He added: “It would be nice if we could send all five million appointments all beautifully staged, but we just don't know about supply. So we are just going to ask people to wait until we get in touch. We're coming.”

Professor Jason Leitch.Professor Jason Leitch.
Professor Jason Leitch.

White envelopes will be used for the first tranche of coronavirus appointments for those aged 70-79 – because blue ones were not ready in time.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman had previously urged people to look out for the “very distinctive” blue envelopes – however, on Sunday evening, the Scottish Government announced that white, windowed envelopes, with a distinctive black NHS logo on the right, will be used as a temporary measure as the blue envelopes are not ready.

Asked to explain the emphasis on the blue envelopes in the first place, Mr Leitch explained to GMS host Gary Robertson that it was simply so they stand out.

He said: “The advice from the Royal Mail experts was that if we chose a different colour, they'd be able to sort them very quickly. They said to us that was blue was the best.

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“Imagine in the sorting office where there's brown and white everywhere, blue just stands out.

“The blue envelopes, it then turned out, weren't ready. So rather than delay, we thought we'd get these 123,000 out just as soon as we could.

“They are still NHS branded envelopes, so when they land on your doorstep or in your mailbox, you'll be able to tell what they are.

“That was never going to be a problem though – people are desperate for this vaccine. People are queuing up for this vaccine, so we deemed to get these appointments out as we quick as we can.

“Blue was a little bit of a cherry on the top, and we'll get that just as soon as these blue envelopes are ready.”

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