Earlier slots for over-40s to help combat Delta variant.
People over 40 whose second coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination appointment is scheduled more than eight weeks after their first are being encouraged to seek an earlier slot.
It follows recent advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommending that the interval for second doses be brought forward from 12 to eight weeks - where supply allows - particularly in areas where the Delta variant is a major threat.
The national vaccination programme is already scheduling appointments to reflect the latest guidance. However, many people – particularly over 40s - have already received an invitation in line with the previous recommendation of a 12 week interval, and they are now being invited to reschedule an earlier appointment. Supplies permitting this will also apply to under 40s when their second dose appointments are due.
A new vaccine journey tool on the NHS Inform website allows people to check the status of their second appointment. If it is more than eight weeks from the first, another slot can be booked if there is one available. The national helpline can also be used, and drop-in clinics are being set-up around the country.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:
“We are working closely with NHS boards to ensure the number of appointments can be increased in line with national guidance to help combat new variants and provide protection to as many people as possible.
“Boards are boosting their capacity to administer second doses alongside the delivery of first doses to younger cohorts and appointments are now being issued in accordance with the new recommendation of an eight week gap.
“The second dose is vital in providing greater and longer lasting protection against the virus – particularly the new Delta variant. In line with the advice from the JCVI, we encourage those whose appointment was already scheduled – which is mainly over 40s at this time – to use the NHS Inform online tool, drop-in clinics or the national helpline to get their second dose appointment as close to eight weeks after their first as possible.
“In the six months since vaccinations started in Scotland we have delivered first doses to more than three quarters of the adult population and second doses to more than half. We remain on track to offer the vaccine to all adults by the end of July, but the emergence of the new variant shows we cannot be complacent.
“The vaccination programme is one of the main ways – along with restrictions and testing – that we are working to beat this virus and so it is crucial that everyone attends for their appointments.”
National vaccination helpline 0800 030 8013
Information on drop-in clinics is available from local NHS boards