We are delighted to say that nearly 145,000 people in Grampian have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This includes the majority of people aged over 65 years and those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group. If you are aged 65 or over, or are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable, and HAVEN’T been given a vaccination appointment yet you can either complete the form available at https://invitations.vacs.nhs.scot or call 0800 030 8013. Please do not use these contacts if you are under 65 and/or not considered clinically extremely vulnerable. Your appointment will be issued in due course, as we work through the priority groups.

Our community nursing teams continue to work hard to vaccinate individuals who are unable to leave their homes and deliver the second doses to care home residents. Our clinic activity has unfortunately been reduced recently due to a lower volume of national stock availability. However, we can assure the public our aim is to deliver at the maximum pace that stock allows.

Tomorrow (Wednesday 24 February) our clinics will recommence with priority group 6. This group includes individuals with ‘at risk’ medical conditions and carers. Appointments will be sent in a phased way over the next 2 weeks.

There are some differences in this group for COVID-19 vaccination when compared to the ‘flu programme and we’d like to explain what these are:

In flu “at-risk” cohort but not in COVID-19 “at-risk” cohort:

  • Asthma: For COVID-19 increased risk in association with asthma, this only applies to those who have had a hospital admission for asthma or those who require continuous or frequently repeated courses of oral steroids
  • Pregnant Women: JCVI has advised that vaccination in pregnancy should be considered where the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection is high and cannot be avoided, or where the woman has underlying conditions that put them at very high risk of serious complications of COVID-19

In Covid-19 “at-risk” cohort but not in flu “at-risk” cohort:

  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • A history of Venous Thromboembolic Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Severe mental illness i.e. individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment
  • Many of the existing disease areas such as Coronary Heart Disease, Chronic Liver Disease, Renal Disease, and Immunosuppression, have an expanded list of eligibility.

We also want to talk about vaccination for unpaid carers. The JCVI group 6 also specifies vaccination for adults who are deemed carers. This will capture all unpaid carers set out in the JCVI definition (those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable) and other carers whom people rely on for day-to-day support. This will reduce the risk of caring situations breaking down due to carer illness from COVID-19, placing further pressure on NHS and Social Care services.

Work is underway to identify those who may be deemed carers and not identified through records. These people will be invited to self-register for their vaccination as part of group 6 via an online registering registration form or by calling the national contact centre. Further communications will be sent shortly on this registration process and individuals in this situation should await this information.