Michelle Ballantyne, Conservative MSP for the South Scotland Region, has today asked the First Minister to guarantee access to flu vaccinations for eligible people.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mrs Ballantyne stated that many of her constituents in the Scottish Borders and the Lothians had been unable to access their scheduled flu vaccinations.
Her constituents reported that long queues had made access to vaccinations challenging and some even stated that they had been turned away due to over-subscription.
The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, responded by saying that partnership with the UK Government had ensured that there would be enough vaccines for all eligible people this winter.
However, when questioned on how many people are eligible for flu vaccinations in the October phase and what percentage of those people the NHS is expecting to treat, Mrs Sturgeon admitted that she did not know.
The First Minister assured Mrs Ballantyne that the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, would be in touch to provide a fuller account.
Michelle Ballantyne MSP commented-
“I am deeply concerned by reports from my constituents that they have had trouble accessing their winter flu vaccinations.
“With the COVID-19 threat still present, it is now more vital than ever that as many people as possible are able to access the flu jab without difficulty.
“However, the Scottish Government is clearly failing in this regard. The fact that some of my constituents have been turned away from appointments is evidence for a dangerous public health crisis waiting to happen.
“I appreciate that with the eligibility expansion has meant that an unprecedented number of people will now have access to the flu jab, but the longer that these administrative blunders persist, the more vulnerable and elderly people will be put at risk.
“I look forward to hearing from the Health Secretary about this matter and I hope that the Scottish Government will not neglect the safety of the people of the Lothians and Borders this winter.”