Older people desperate for the Covid-19 booster in Glasgow have been faced with long queues amid unexpected medical staff absences.
Experts are concerned about the spread of the virus this winter, with the NHS updating their guidance to suggest that all over-50s be offered a further dose of the booster this autumn, as they are most at risk.
However, many have been forced to wait in long queues, despite attending at their designated appointment times.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has blamed unexpected staff absences for the extended waiting times.
Catherine Wilson, 65, told STV News how her 89-year-old father waited for nearly three hours at Barmulloch Community Centre before he could receive his booster.
“We were told his appointment was at 1.32pm on Tuesday, so we went around ten minutes early – the queue was outside the centre when we arrived,” she said.
“The stewards told us there were no parking spaces left, so we had to park a bit further away and my dad had to walk all the way back down. I mean, we were in shock.”
She was stunned that the appointment had been prescheduled down to the minute, however they still ended up having to wait until 3.50pm before being seen.
“It was a shambles. They were handing out complaint pamphlets and saying ‘please complain about this!’ It was just ridiculous.”
During their visit, Catherine said she saw an older woman collapse while in the queue.
“She just dropped, and had to be pulled back up and away by some nurses,” she told STV News.
“She also hit her head on the wall, and cut herself on the skirting board.”
Her father, Richard, is not the only family member who has had to wait in long lines recently.
“My mother-in-law, she’s 95, went to the Partick Burgh Hall for hers earlier in the week and waited for around an hour and a half before being told they weren’t able to take any more appointments that day. She’s had to reschedule.”
Catherine’s main concern is the lack of appropriate protection this could result in.
“I mean, how many people are just going to turn away and not get their jags? It’s a whole process, rescheduling, and many might never do it.
“It goes against the constant warnings we are being given in messaging to get the booster before winter begins.”
NHS Glasgow and Greater Clyde highlighted its plans to administer more than 630,000 jags in its rollout of the winter vaccination plan, which covers Covid-19 boosters and flu.
A spokesperson for the health board said: “We have recently experienced some unexpected staff absences and would like to apologise to anyone who has had to wait longer than expected for their vaccine.
“We would like to thank members of the public for their patience and the support they have given our vaccination teams, who are working hard to ensure those receiving their vaccinations are administered both swiftly and safely.
“To help prevent waits and to allow our vaccination teams to process people in a timely manner, we are asking members of our local communities to arrive only a few minutes ahead of their allocated appointment time.
“If anyone is concerned about accessing a clinic, we would encourage them to call the national helpline on 0800 030 8013.”
The Scottish Government has been contacted for response.
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