Midlothian concerns raised over NHS Lothian vaccine no shows for appointments
Nearly 13 people out of every 100 invited for their Covid-19 vaccine are not turning up every day across NHS Lothian.
Concern over the number of DNAs (Do Not Attend) being recorded at vaccine centres was raised at a meeting of Midlothian Integration Joint Board.
Chief officer Morag Barrow said that across NHS Lothian, the average daily DNAs were at 12.8 per cent and she warned that the number of people failing to attend was increasing as the vaccination rollout moved to younger age groups.
In Midlothian, she said that the number was slightly lower than across the whole of the health board area but warned it was rising.
She said: “The DNA rate appears to be rising as the age groups reduce.”
Among reasons which could be impacting on the take-up was, the board heard, tales of people having a bad reaction being shared with peer groups, publicity over the AstraZeneca injection and people reluctant to return for a second dose after experiencing side effects from the first one.
Ms Barrow added: “Some of the anecdotal stuff is people wanting to go and discuss it with their GP prior to going for the vaccination and timescales not allowing for it.”
The virtual meeting of the board heard from member James Hill, Midlothian Council staff rep, that there was concern among some of those who had had the first injection about having to go back for the second dose.
He asked what could be done to talk people round and support them to ensure that they went for both injections.
He said: “I’ve been inundated by a number of members about the second jab because they had a heck of a reaction.
“I’ve had comments like: ‘I’m going nowhere near it.'”
Ms Barrow said that NHS Lothian was working on ways to tackle the gap in uptake and looking at campaigns, as well as talking to community leaders.
Council leader Councillor Derek Milligan suggested looking for local celebrities or influencers to lead the campaign to ensure younger people took up the vaccine.
He said: “The number of DNAs is very worrying for us. We need to look at in some areas getting a celebrity, someone who is happy to be pictured getting the vaccine.”
Ms Barrow agreed, adding: “It is a very different message to get across.”
Fellow member Councillor Pauline Winchester added that she had heard of schemes in England where leftover vaccine doses at the end of the day were offered to any local on-duty police officers, or people were texted and asked to come in.
In Midlothian, by Friday, April 2, 43,000 people had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The rate of uptake for the older priority groups for the vaccine was high, with an average of 95 per cent of people over the age of 75 going for the jab, and 92 percent of those aged 70 to 75.
The number of care home residents vaccinated now stands at 99 per cent in the county.
Ms Barrow also praised the Gorebridge mass vaccination centre which opened last month at the leisure centre.
She said: “It has been working very well, I have had nothing but positive comments about it around the slickness of the operation and its staff.”
She added her thanks to the army who helped set up the centre and train vaccinators on the site.