McArthur airs flu jab fears

Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has written to the Health Secretary, Jeanne Freeman MSP, highlighting concerns over delays in issuing flu jabs to over-65s.

After concerns were raised with him by constituents, Mr McArthur contacted the Chief Executive of NHS Orkney, Gerry O’Brien who confirmed that the Scottish Government is “phasing in” a new vaccine which is currently produced by only one company.  Unfortunately, this supplier indicated that it would be unable to guarantee supply to all over-65s in time for this year’s winter campaign. 

As a result, vaccines are being made available in three phases, with priority being given to the over-75s in the first instance.  Mr McArthur has now written to the Health Secretary voicing fears that this may still leave many older constituents vulnerable and seeking assurances that steps will be taken to mitigate those risks while also ensuring that there are no such delays in future years 

Commenting on the issue, Mr McArthur said: 

“The flu jab campaign is incredibly important for reducing the risk of infection over the winter months for some of the most vulnerable in our community.  Any delay in getting people vaccinated is therefore a concern. 

“I appreciate that efforts have been made to prioritise those over 75 who may be most in need, but I know that constituents are concerned that this could still leave others at risk. 

“I have therefore written to the Health Secretary highlighting these concerns and asking what steps are being taken to deal with any heightened risk of infection over the course of this winter.  I have also sought assurances that there will be no repeat of these delays in getting flu jabs carried out in future years.  Lessons must absolutely be learned”. 

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