Over-50s without Covid vaccine should 'continue to be patient', says Gregor Smith

Over-50s and those with underlying health conditions who have still not received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine after the Scottish and UK governments declared that cohort complete should “continue to be patient”, chief medical officer Gregor Smith has said.

The Scottish Government announced on April 13 the mid-April target to offer a first dose to everyone in the first nine JCVI priority groups, including over-50s and those with underlying health conditions, had been hit, with a “small number” of people still to receive their appointment.

As of Sunday, more than 100,000 Scots in these groups had still not been given a first dose, including 102,000 people aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions.

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Some 36,000 people aged 50 to 55 have not received a first dose, along with just under 10,000 people aged 55 to 60.

A member of the public outside the main entrance to the coronavirus mass vaccine centre at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021.

Those Scots over 50 who also have an underlying health condition will be counted in both groups.

People who have taken all necessary steps to try and get an appointment, including calling the national vaccination helpline and ensuring their details are dully up to date, should be patient, Dr Gregor Smith said on Monday.

"People have been very, very patient, and I would just ask them to continue to be patient,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland.

"If they have contacted the vaccination helpline and given all the correct details, then they will get their appointment through.”

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Dr Smith said a small number of people had not been given an appointment yet.

“If there are a small number of people who haven’t received their letter yet and they are in the over 50 age group, I would suggest to them that they contact the vaccination helpline just to make sure all the details are correct for them,” he said.

"There will be a small number where the contact details perhaps are not registered in the system fully correctly, and that way the vaccinators can get in contact and make sure they can be [given an appointment].”

Asked how the Scottish Government plans to clear the backlog of 100,000 over-50s without a jag, Dr Smith denied there was a backlog.

“I don’t see that there's necessarily a backlog just now, I don't recognise that there is a backlog of cases at all,” he said.

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