Scotland’s rollout of Covid booster vaccinations for elderly care home residents is getting under way this week.
The Scottish Government confirmed older residents in care homes are the first to be offered both flu and coronavirus booster vaccines from Monday, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Hamilton’s Abercorn care home was the first in Scotland to receive the initial Covid-19 vaccination last December.
Healthcare staff returned on Tuesday to add another layer of protection against Covid-19 and the flu.
Among the residents being seen was Annie Innes, 91, who was the country’s first care home resident to receive the initial Covid-19 vaccine.
Annie told STV News: “It [the vaccine] helps everybody.
“It makes a big difference You’re able to do things and get out.
“It makes you feel more comfortable and safer.”
Sharon Murray, associate director of nursing (Care Home Assurance & Support), Health & Social Care North Lanarkshire, said: “It’s great to get the booster programme underway for Lanarkshire’s 96 care home residents.
“It will offer longer lasting protection against severe Covid-19 illness and also, importantly, the flu as the winter months get closer.
“Where possible, those eligible will be offered the Covid-19 booster and flu vaccine together. This is another important step in protecting individual, and wider public, protection against both of these viruses.
“Despite it being a very complex area of work, our staff have been excellent in meeting the challenges of storing and transporting the vaccines and this will enable us to carry out the vaccination programme very efficiently.
“Care home staff and managers have been outstanding in helping us plan the vaccination programme and their co-operation has been invaluable.
“This is a multifaceted operation and we’re dedicated to ensuring residents and staff are prepared for our visits and have consented to receiving the booster and vaccination.
“I’d urge all eligible care home residents and staff to take-up the Covid-19 booster and the flu vaccine to protect themselves, their loved ones, friends and staff.”
Health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted to see Mrs Innes receiving her Covid-19 booster injection after she became the first care home resident in Scotland to be vaccinated last December. The booster offers longer lasting protection against severe Covid-19 illness and I wish Mrs Innes many more years of good health.
“Mrs Innes also received her flu jab – the roll-out of Covid-19 boosters is running alongside our biggest ever flu vaccine programme as both of these programmes are important for individual and for public health and wherever possible, those eligible will be offered Covid-19 and flu vaccines together.
“This will be a busy time for our largest vaccination programme ever but I want to thank NHS Lanarkshire and all the boards for their continuing hard work in making this roll-out such a success.”
Frontline health and social care workers will also able to book an appointment for a booster jab online at NHS Inform from Tuesday.
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.
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 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.