Covid Scotland: Over-50s may not receive flu jag until January due to dual vaccination roll-out

Vulnerable people who are not due a Covid booster until the new year should be offered flu vaccination separately rather than waiting until well into flu season, the Scottish Conservatives have warned.

Currently, many people who are over 50 or have an underlying health condition will have to wait until January for their NHS flu vaccination as they are being administered alongside the Covid vaccine third dose to increase efficiency in the NHS.

Patients can only receive a third dose of the Covid vaccination six months after their second, meaning some people will not be eligible until into the new year.

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The problem is thought to be likely to mainly affect people in their 50s who do not have underlying health conditions, as many did not receive their second Covid injection until well into the summer.

People aged over 50 who did not receive their second Covid vaccination until the summer, like the First Minister, pictured above, may have to wait until the new year to receive their flu jag.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “It’s vital that NHS vaccination programmes have a degree of flexibility in them so that the patient’s best interests always come first.

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“January could be far too late in the flu season for jabs to be administered to over-50s and other vulnerable people.”

He added: “In cases where someone in those categories isn’t due their Covid booster until January, then they need to be offered their flu vaccination separately and well in advance of the peak winter period.”

All over-50s will be eligible for a free flu vaccine, along with anyone with underlying health conditions, children, pregnant women and prisoners. Health and social care staff, unpaid carers, teachers and prison staff will also be eligible.

The Scottish Government said: “In line with the latest JCVI advice, COVID-19 booster vaccinations for the most vulnerable groups will continue to be prioritised first, before calling forward 40 to 49-year-olds.

“The JCVI recommended minimum gap between the second dose and the booster dose is 6 months - with further flexibility to offer vaccination to the most vulnerable groups after 5 months in certain circumstances.”

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