An update on the COVID-19 vaccination programme
The COVID-19 vaccination programme is now well underway following the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval of both the Pfizer and Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccines as being safe and effective and approval for use.
Delivering this very large and complex programme of vaccination remains a fast-moving situation and some elements of the programme will continue to be subject to change at short notice.
Who is eligible for a vaccine?
With age being one of the highest risk factors for serious illness and death from COVID-19, the first priority group for the vaccine are residents in care homes for older adults and their carers, people aged over 80 and frontline health and social care workers.
Already across NHS Lothian, over 20,000 vaccines have been delivered to front line staff, staff working in the four Health and Social Care Partnerships and at both private and Council run care homes. This is in addition to the continued roll out of vaccines to care home residents across the region.
Surgeries in Lothian started to vaccinate people aged 80 and over on 7 January 2021. GP surgeries will receive supplies in the coming days and weeks so they can start vaccinating people in the 80 and over age range. GP Practices will contact eligible people direct to arrange appointments. Our district nursing team will vaccinate anyone who is housebound and in this age bracket.
The focus at the moment is on the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers. Planning is also underway for mass vaccination of the general public in large scale venues for later stages of the vaccination programme.
We've been made aware that fraudsters are sending out fake text messages offering a COVID-19 vaccine in an attempt to steal personal and financial information. Please know that there is no charge for the vaccine. Please do not give any financial information.
When can I expect to be vaccinated?
The COVID vaccine offers a beacon of hope, in what has some been truly difficult times. Across Lothian, we are working tirelessly to make sure that we can deliver the vaccine to each of the relevant groups when they are due to receive it. This is a huge task and won’t happen overnight, which is why we urge the public to please be patient with this process.
The message however is clear: you will receive your vaccination, but this has to be done in a systematic way, to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are prioritised.
The next phase of the vaccination programme, known as Wave 2, is shortly expected to begin across Scotland to vaccinate people aged 75 to 79 years of age, followed by those aged 70-74 and 65-69, followed by adults with risk factors over the age of 65. NHS Lothian has been working with councils, health and social care partnerships and other partners to ensure we are ready for when the roll-out begins, which is expected in February.
We don’t have a timescale for every one of the different priority groups as the programme depends on supply of the vaccine as well as the number of vaccinators and clinics. Plans are constantly being adapted and updated to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible within the Lothian area.
Where will I receive my vaccine?
All those aged 80 or over will receive a letter or phone call inviting them forward for their vaccination and advising them where and when they can get it. The vaccine requires two doses to offer the best possible protection, with second dose appointments being scheduled for around twelve weeks after the first dose is administered.
The first venues for the mass COVID-19 vaccination programme in Lothian have been selected in preparation for Wave 2 of the vaccination roll out. Plans are being developed to create a walk-through centre at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) which would be capable of vaccinating 26,000 people in a week at a total of around 50 stations. A similar walk-through centre is expected to be set up in the Pyramids Business Park, which could provide 12,000 vaccinations every week using around 25 stations. A drive-through vaccination centre is then being planned for Queen Margaret University in East Lothian that would have around 16 stations and be able to vaccinate 8,000 people a week.
How do I book my vaccine?
For patients of this practice, we’d encourage you to book your vaccine at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) or at Queen Margaret University in East Lothian once booking becomes available. As soon as we have more information on how to book your vaccine, we will make it immediately available.