Medical staff who have been working on Scotland’s Covid wards throughout the pandemic are appealing for the public to get a booster vaccination before Hogmanay.
NHS workers have spoken about their heartbreak of seeing patients die from the “awful virus” and their fears of being overwhelmed again as “breaking point” nears.
Clinicians from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde stressed that hospitals were already nearing capacity and that staff were tired from relentless pressure.
And in a statement released on Monday they have warned against complacency as they urge the public to take up their chance of a booster between Christmas and New Year.
In the lead up to the New Year, thousands of new vaccine clinics have been added across the health board and an army of additional vaccinators have been recruited to help provide as many options as possible for the public to come forward and get their boosters.
Anyone eligible can book their booster online, including same day appointments, through the national portal here.
Drop-in clinics are also available, the details of which are available on the NHSGGC website.
Opening times for the clinic at Glasgow Central Mosque have been extended to 8pm on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 December.
Opening hours at the Lagoon Centre in Paisley have also been extended to 8.15pm on Monday 27 December.
Dr Andy Mackay, Clinical Director and Consultant in Critical Care, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital said: “It’s vital that as many people as possible come forward to get their booster.
“Our critical care units and hospitals are already very busy. My colleagues and I continue to do our best for our patients but it’s essential that we all do what we can to prevent the additional avoidable stress of COVID-19 on the health service.”
John Carson, Chief Nurse at Glasgow Royal Infirmary said: “People might not feel like getting their booster in case it disrupts the holidays, but our hospitals are presently facing an extremely difficult a position and we can’t afford for it to get worse.
“Please get the vaccine – it only takes a short time out of your day and the side effects for the vast majority are very mild. This is a very small trade off to help support the health service, and the only way we’ll be able to survive through the winter.”
Dr Wesley Stewart, vascular surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Chief of Medicine across the QEUH, Gartnavel and New Victoria Hospitals, said: “We’re facing a significant new wave of the virus, and this comes as we enter winter, which has always been an extremely pressured time for the service.
“We want to be able to continue delivering non-Covid-19 care as much as possible and the single most effective way this can happen is if the public continue to follow the guidance and please get vaccinated if you’re eligible.
Dr Claire Harrow, Chief of Medicine for the Clyde sector incorporating Inverclyde Royal Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital and the Vale of Leven Hospital, said: “I’ve been on Covid wards since March 2020 and seeing people die from Covid-19 has been absolutely heart-breaking.
“We are trying our best to look after all our patients but our hospitals are nearly at capacity looking after non-Covid-19 patients.
“We’re experiencing staffing challenges and our teams are tired from the relentless pressure being put on them.
“The one thing the public can do is to get boosted to help minimise further spread of this awful virus.”