A care home resident in Perth has become one of the first to receive a booster Covid-19 vaccine.
Sheena Cargill, 83, who lives at Kincairney House, received the top-up for her coronavirus jab on Monday – alongside her flu vaccination.
It comes as a programme to give people extra protection from the virus rolls out across the country, following the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Children aged 12 to 15 are also now being invited for their vaccines.
Sheena told The Courier: “I’m quite happy to have it done, just to save other people as well as myself.
“Nobody liked it when they weren’t allowed visitors because they were isolated.
“One lady is isolated at the moment, and I was actually allowed to go along and say hi to her at the door.
“I’ve had quite a few visitors since it’s been allowed, my friends come.”
Frontline health workers offered booster
Frontline health and social care workers are also being offered booster jabs.
Cat McIvor, 27, a care assistant at Kincairney House, said: “I feel quite lucky to be one of the first to get it.
“I was one of the first to get the first vaccine as well so it just feels good to be contributing to keeping people safe.
“I got my first jab in December, the home that I worked at was the first home to get vaccinated and I got the second one in March.
“I know how new it is, so I’m partly nervous about that, but I do feel really lucky to be able to get it so soon.
“It’s one of the main things that’s going to keep us all safe, that and our masks.”
But the vaccine rollout has allowed the rules to be relaxed.
Cat added: “Being able to have visitors again is great for their mental health, especially if they’ve got things like dementia.
“It can actually slow the deterioration if they’re getting normality, seeing their family, just being able to chat to people, so it’s definitely beneficial for them.
“There’s been a difference in residents since visitors have been allowed, they’re much happier.
“They’ve got more of a sense of normality now – instead of being in their room all day doing nothing, staring at a wall – it’s much better for them.”
Who is eligible for the booster?
Adults aged 70 and over and those aged 16 and over who are on the highest risk list, previously known as the shielding list, will begin to be contacted by letter or by their GP from the end of September to arrange their booster vaccine.
People on the highest risk list who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their last Covid vaccination will be offered a third primary dose instead.
The Scottish Government has confirmed other eligible groups, including all those aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions, adult carers, unpaid and young carers, adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals and all adults over 50, will be able to book an appointment online from October.
Why do we need a booster jab?
Scientists believe those who get a third dose see a rise in their antibody levels, based on clinical trials.
The Cov-Boost study, which informed the JCVI’s decision, is due to report its findings publicly in early October.
Three vaccines – AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna – have been approved as safe and effective for boosters, but Pfizer has been chosen by experts.
Vicki Scott and Elaine Ellis from NHS Tayside have been administering the booster jabs at Kincairney House.
Vicki said: “You need the booster to keep your immunity up, and the more immunity they have, the better it is for the vaccine.
“Living in a home like this where they’re all together, they’re more at risk, so it’s definitely important for them to get the booster and for the staff because they could pass it on.”
Elaine said: “It’s lovely that we’re starting with the vulnerable and the carers because they’re vulnerable to Covid and to the flu, so they’re getting the flu booster as well, if they wish to today and the staff that are looking after them and protecting them.
“It’s tremendous, the more people that are vaccinated, from the vulnerable right through to the young, the more we’re going to get on top of the virus hopefully.”