The Scottish Government has apologised after people were turned away from booked vaccine appointments following changes to Covid-19 booster jab plans.
The UK-wide Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) issued advice after the emergence of the new Omicron variant. All over-18s were made eligible for a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine three months after their second.
But many adults who attended the vaccination centre at Glasgow Central Mosque reported being told they needed a gap of 24 weeks between the doses – in line with previous advice.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde announced that those eligible for booster shots could book appointments online or by phone on Monday.
The Scottish Government said those who had went to the vaccine centre and were turned away attended before “necessary protocols were in place”.
Ten cases of the Omicron variant have been found in Scotland, with nine linked to a single birthday party.
The Scottish Government announced it intended for all adults to be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccine by the end of January.
The JCVI said both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines can be used as a boosters for adults.
Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for health Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “Patients are rightly frustrated and confused over mixed messages coming from the SNP Government on booster vaccine eligibility.
“No-one that is eligible to get their booster jag under current guidance should be turned away from vaccination clinics.”
Scottish Labour’s health and covid recovery spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “This is nothing short of a shambles.
“The need to accelerate our booster programme has never been greater, so we cannot have people being turned away.”
Experts believe the new Omicron variant could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, but they think the jabs may still protect against severe disease.
However, it could be three further weeks before more details on how transmissible the variant is, whether it evades vaccine protection and whether it causes more severe disease.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Following JCVI advice, clinical and legal guidance requires to be put in place for vaccination teams to implement the changes. This has been progressed urgently and instructions have now issued to all health boards to vaccinate in line with the latest advice.
“The new guidance is also being updated on the NHS Inform website.
“We apologise to those people who have been keen to get their booster vaccination and attended before the necessary protocols were in place.
“Booster appointments are booked in advance via the portal, therefore the vast majority of appointments will not have been affected.”
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was contacted for comment.
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