In response to a question from MSP Beatrice Wishart in the Scottish Parliament's Covid-19 committee about constituents who were temporarily living in Northern Ireland and England, National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said that there should be reciprocal agreements in place to ensure that people could be vaccinated.
Ms Wishart said: “I wonder if there are any formal reciprocal arrangements between Scotland and other nations of the UK for such a situation.”
Mr Leitch said: “It’s people in all directions, people who’ve had to move to care for somebody or move for a job in the middle of the biggest vaccination programme in UK history.”
He said people should try to register with a local GP surgery where they were, but that there were systems in place to deal with the situation if that was not possible.
"Failing that, if you are very temporary, then we will catch you when you come back. If you’re in the middle group, where you haven’t actually moved and you’re not just there for two or three weeks, then you will have to contact the local health delivery system. We have systems to do that in Glasgow, in Edinburgh, for people who are coming to us. I’m absolutely certain that those English and Irish and Welsh systems would find ways around that.
"If there are individual cases that don’t manage and it gets too complex, then you should write in to us and we will try to unravel that for you.”
He also warned that people shouldn't “randomly apply" fraudulently as unpaid carers as the vaccine roll out expands to include people looking after vulnerable family members. An online portal will be set up in the coming days to allow people to self register as an unpaid carer.
Mr Leitch said: “We need people to use their common sense. We need people to come forward who are genuinely carers and we will have a portal where that can happen. We’re keen to get as many as we can, but we’re also keen for it not be an excuse for people not randomly apply for a vaccination. That is not the purpose. The purpose is to protect those individuals and those they care for.”
He said GPs could also put people who they know have caring responsibilities onto the unpaid carers list by looking at patient history.
Mr Leitch said that heath boards, especially in rural areas, were being given some flexibility in what order they vaccinate groups six to nine, which includes over 50s and people with underlying health conditions. If health boards finish an earlier priority group, they will be allowed to move on to the next on the list.
He said: "There is some flexibility depending on supply and availability where a health board could go into [another] group quicker than some urban, larger areas will get to. We just need people to be patient.”