Vaccination Programme

– in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd February 2021.

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Photo of Jamie Halcro Johnston Jamie Halcro Johnston Conservative

I have been contacted by a constituent from my Highlands and Islands region who, instead of being offered the vaccine at the local general practitioner surgery in Keith, has been told to travel to Dufftown over dangerous and snowy roads. I have a constituent in their late 90s who, until his family contacted the national health service, had no news of his vaccination date and, as of Monday afternoon, was still to hear about that, after having been told that he will be vaccinated at home, despite the fact that he is willing and able to attend his local GP surgery. GPs in my region are frustrated at being told that they cannot vaccinate people who they would choose to vaccinate and that supplies are limited and their use is restricted. Do those examples of the inflexibility of the system and how it impacts on some of our most vulnerable cause the First Minister concern? If so, what can she do about it?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

In any big-scale programme, there will always be people who perhaps get missed and do not get an appointment letter, or who do not get an appointment where it is convenient, and the system will try to be as flexible as possible. As a constituency MSP, I get emails from constituents about such matters—I have had some in the past couple of weeks—and I try to get on and fix things for my constituents as quickly as possible. We will make the system as flexible as possible for people.

I did not necessarily think that the Conservatives would move so quickly from saying that not enough people are being vaccinated to complaining about where people are being vaccinated. We are getting through the process as quickly as possible.

I know that there will be people—such people email me, too—who say, “I want to be vaccinated closer to home because of my particular circumstances.” That is perfectly legitimate. I again give the number for the helpline, although people can obviously contact their MSP. The helpline number is 0800 030 8013. That helpline is there should anyone need advice on any aspect of their vaccination. We will try to be as flexible as possible.