Covid Scotland: Care home staff urged to take up booster vaccine amid reports of delayed access

Care home staff in Scotland have been urged to take up the booster Covid-19 vaccine amid reports delivery has been slower than for the first and second dose campaigns.

It comes as National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch said the population in Scotland is “not vaccinated enough”.

The rollout of third doses to care home staff has not been as “immediate” for the booster campaign as it was during the delivery of first and second doses, Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, which represents independent care homes, said on Sunday.

Many care homes did not receive multiple visits from vaccination teams as seen earlier during the pandemic, Mr Macaskill told the BBC’s Sunday Show.

Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Vaccination has also been slowed by misinformation on social media, he added.

However, rates are beginning to increase, Mr Macaskill said.

As of December 16, some 67 per cent of eligible care home staff had received a booster vaccine dose, according to figures from Public Health Scotland.

Asked why the rate among care home staff had been lower than the rest of the population, Mr Macaskill said: “There are many reasons, which I think we are working through and have worked through in the last two or three weeks.

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“One was that the access to vaccination in this latest booster programme was not as immediate, many care homes did not have teams visiting multiple times as we did earlier in the pandemic.

“We've seen a significant increase in the booster vaccination programme for care staff in the last week, figures have gone up by about eight or nine per cent.

“We are building on that. We've been holding programmes and webinars, and we're encouraging every single care worker to get their booster."

Mr Macaskill added that misinformation on social media has been a barrier.

He said: “Sometimes people have been led to believe, not least by spurious social media campaigns, that the booster doesn't aid or add any benefit.

“They could not be more false. ‘Get your booster’ is the single message to the whole population, but in particular to the care sector.”

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch told the same programme that the population is “not vaccinated enough”.

“We know from that real world data… that the booster is essential,” he said.

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