NHS Fife says it is working to book appointments for those aged over 80 to get flu vaccine and Covid booster jabs – as hundreds of patients are yet to receive one.
About 2,000 people in that age group are still waiting to be offered vaccination ahead of the winter season.
Third doses of the coronavirus vaccine are being rolled out across Scotland for the elderly and most vulnerable, alongside flu vaccinations, but some have said the Scottish Government needs to do more to speed it up.
Murdo Fraser, Scottish Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, believes Holyrood should give extra support to health boards.
Mr Fraser said: “This is a considerable number of people in a vulnerable age group that are still waiting for their booster jag.
“The SNP’s slow rollout of the programme is causing delay to older people receiving that crucial extra protection over the winter months.
“These figures should be a warning sign to the SNP to provide health boards, like Fife, with extra support to deliver the booster programme.”
Nicky Connor, director of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “We have been vaccinating our over-80s population for around three weeks in GP practices and community clinics across Fife, with more than 10,000 people in this age group having received a Covid booster or third dose.
“We are on track to have offered vaccination to all of those aged 80 and over by mid-November, and the remaining approximately 2,000 people who have not yet been vaccinated should expect to receive an appointment very shortly if they haven’t received this already.
“The vaccination programme continues to move forward at a significant pace to ensure those most vulnerable to the effects of flu and Covid-19 are offered vaccination ahead of winter.
The remaining approximately 2,000 people who have not yet been vaccinated should expect to receive an appointment very shortly.”
Nicky Connor, NHS Fife
“Earlier this month we completed the vaccination of residents and staff working in Fife’s care homes and this week began vaccinating those aged 70-79 along with those considered extremely clinically vulnerable.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed the rollout of booster jabs when speaking at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
She said the NHS was “currently delivering the biggest-ever winter vaccination programme”, with third doses of the Covid vaccine delivered alongside the annual winter flu jab programme.
Efforts to ‘accelerate pace of programme’
She added: “We are making good progress but every effort is being made, within the limits of JCVI advice, to accelerate the pace of this programme.”
Advice from the JCVI says that booster jabs should be offered no earlier than six months after a person’s second dose.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “We started this as soon as possible following the JCVI advice – that the booster dose should be offered no earlier than six months after completion of the primary vaccine course.
“It is important to note that many people in the original early priority cohorts of the initial vaccination programme had already had a six-month gap prior to this JCVI advice.”