Those looking to get a vaccine booster no longer need to wait six months from their second vaccine. Those aged over 40, unpaid carers or household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals, can now book their vaccine booster appointment for three months after their second dose.
NHS Ayrshire & Arran Public Health Director Lynne McNiven said: “Since our booster vaccine programme started in September, we have delivered around 120,000 booster or third COVID-19 vaccine doses locally already.
“With winter now upon us, and news of a new COVID-19 variant, it is now more important than ever that we get as many booster vaccines into arms as possible. And so it is great news that we now have the protocols in place that allow our staff to vaccinate citizens earlier than the six months previously advised.
“Those aged over 40 are eligible for a booster and they can book on to the system now. If you’re aged over 40, an unpaid carer or living in an immunosuppressed household, make sure you book your appointment on the portal. To access the booking portal, visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/vaccinebooking
“You won’t get a blue appointment letter, and so you need to log on to the portal to book an appointment at a location and time convenient to you. Please don’t wait for an appointment through the post – the booking is up to you to make online or on the helpline.
“Please note, however, that if you are aged 18 to 39 years, you cannot book a booster vaccination as yet. More information will be available soon about how 18 to 39 year olds will get their vaccine.”
NHS Ayrshire & Arran is aware that this week, there was a small number of citizens who had been able to book an appointment less than six months since their last one, and unfortunately were turned away from the vaccine centre.
Lynne McNiven explains: “I would like to apologise to those who were turned away. Unfortunately, this was because our vaccine teams had to wait for the appropriate protocols and guidance to be approved nationally, to ensure we provide a clinically safe service. We now have that protocol in place, and so I would encourage those people to call the vaccine helpline and book another appointment.
“Please take the chance to get the booster to increase your protection against the coronavirus, which can be severe at any age.”
Clinics with additional capacity in Ayrshire are being added to the portal regularly. If you attempt to book your appointment but can’t see any suitable slots please check back at a later time as new options will continue to become available.
Lynne McNiven adds: “More than 80,000 local appointments have been added to the system for December and January. If you don’t find an appointment right away, keep trying, as we are adding more appointments every day.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the vaccine programme. Our team are working incredibly hard, under difficult circumstances. While the vast majority of those coming for vaccine have been grateful, there have been a very small number of citizens who have been abusive to our staff. This is unacceptable, and I would urge everyone to remember to be kind and respectful.” To access the booking portal, visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/vaccinebooking
To use the online portal individuals will need their unique NHS user name which can be found on any previous appointment letter. If this is not readily available, it can be located or reset at NHS Inform’s “recover username” page. Those without online access, can book an appointment through the National Helpline 0800 030 8013.