Covid in Scotland: What to do if you are missing a vaccine appointment

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is gaining ground in Scotland, with more than three million people now given a first dose.

But while the rollout has in general been a huge success, this has not been everyone’s experience and some people have found themselves spending weeks trying to chase up a long overdue first dose.

So what to do if you are eligible and have not yet been included?

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You are eligible for the vaccine if you are over 40, an unpaid carer, or over 16 with an underlying health condition.

Picture: PA MediaPicture: PA Media
Picture: PA Media

The age group currently being given first doses varies by health board. In the Western Isles, everyone should have an appointment, while most non-island health boards are still doing people in their 40s.

If you are in Moray, or some areas of south Glasgow (G41, G42, G5, G51 and G52), all over-18s can receive a jag due to high case numbers.

Even if your health board has a slightly slower rollout – including Lothian, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Tayside – you should still have been offered a jag if you are eligible, even if you may receive it later than some in other areas.

In most health boards, the rollout does not proceed exactly by descending age order within a ten-year age band, so you may find friends who are a couple of years younger getting their jag first.

The NHS has launched a new tool to chase up missing invitations, which can be found here. It takes seconds to fill in and the system may be able to find the date of an appointment which has already been scheduled, and you just haven’t received the letter yet.

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If you have not got an appointment, your details will be passed to a ‘specialist team’ who will take up your case. This takes longer, but is a means by which many overdue Scots have already been able to finally get hold of an appointment.

If this still doesn’t help, the NHS advises that you call the national helpline on 0800 030 8013. However, this can be a time-consuming process and does not always produce results.

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Some health boards have their own localised phone numbers and it might be worth checking to see if this is the case in your area.

If you get an appointment time which you can’t attend, you can rearrange it online or over the phone. The best method varies by health board, but you can find out more here.

And if you’ve had one dose and want to know when you’ll get your second, you can log into this page using the details you were given in your initial appointment letter for your first dose.

According to the guidance, you should get your second dose within 12 weeks of your first. However, there has been a delay with some second doses in Scotland in recent weeks, and some people have been given them outside this window.

Missing the 12-week window by a few days or weeks is not a health risk, national clinical director Jason Leitch has said, as the recommended period is not absolute.

Even those who did not take up their second dose appointment when offered it can still get the dose, even if it has been much longer since their first jag.

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