(SCOTLAND) #Coronavirus Report: Letters containing details of vaccine appointments for those aged 70 to 79 will begin arriving from today Monday #AceHealthDesk report

#AceHealthReport – Jan.25: Blue envelopes containing appointments for first doses will drop through letterboxes as the vaccine programme moves through priority groups: Health Secretary Jeane Freeman urged people to look out for the “very distinctive” envelopes, which are being given priority by Royal Mail: It is part of new booking system being used in six health board areas: The envelopes are being sent out in Fife, Forth Valley, Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Lothian. The new booking system schedules appointments for patients in order of priority and more boards are expected to make use of the technology as the vaccination programme expands.

#Coronavirus Report: #Covid19 in Scotland: Over 70s to receive vaccine date in blue envelopes as it starts today Monday

4 hours ago

A healthcare worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine and a syringe at the Pentland Medical Practice, in Currie, Scotland, Britain January 7, 2021.

According to the Scottish government’s vaccine deployment plan, the 470,000 people aged in the 70 and 79 age bracket should receive their first dose by mid-February. 

But many people aged over 80 have yet to receive their first dose and the government has faced criticism from opposition parties concerned that Scotland is “lagging behind” England on the vaccine roll-out. 

Official data shows 13% of that age bracket had the vaccine by last Sunday but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that figure had now reached about 40%. 

She said the vaccine roll-out was “gathering pace every day”, with about 400,000 doses administered so far. 

The over 80s should have their first dose by 5 February and Ms Sturgeon said the programme was on track to meet that deadline and the mid-February target for the over 70s. Nicola Sturgeon says the over 70s are to receive their vaccine date

Meanwhile Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Politics that the Scottish government is “actively exploring” the possibility of stricter rules around facemasks. 

He said the issue was being “looked at” after new rules announced in Germany last week required people to wear medical grade facemasks on public transport and in shops. 

Mr Swinney said progress was being made in reducing cases but hospitals were still under “enormous pressure” and it would be “foolish” to rule out strengthening restrictions futher in the future. 

First class

Announcing the blue envelope plan, Ms Freeman said “We all know how easy it is to ignore some of the mail which comes through our letterboxes but these blue envelopes will be very distinctive and they will contain details of your vaccine appointment so please open them.

“The letters are being posted first class and we have been advised by the Royal Mail that the colour will allow them to prioritise delivery.

“The blue envelopes will contain information about the time and place of your appointment and details on how to reschedule it if you are unable to attend.”

The over 80s should not expect to receive an appointment in a blue envelope. 

Ms Freeman urged everyone to take up their appointment when they are offered one.

The Scottish government has faced criticism over the pace of the vaccine rollout, amid claims from the Scottish Conservatives that doses are sitting in “depots and collection points” rather than being injected into people’s arms. 

They say vaccines are not being supplied to GPs’ surgeries fast enough. 

And they point to the latest official figures which show that 13% of over 80s in Scotland had their first dose by last Sunday, while 56.3% of same age group had been vaccinated in England

But Nicola Sturgeon says the over 80s roll-out has been slower because it has “very deliberately” concentrated on vaccinating care home residents first, which is “more time consuming and labour intensive”.

She told parliament on Wednesday that this was designed to target the most vulnerable and was in line with the priority list compiled by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises on vaccine rollout across the UK.

About 95% of care home residents have received their first dose, Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish government briefing on Friday. 

Meanwhile the UK government Health Secretary Matt Hancock told The Andrew Marr Show that 75% of over 80s and three quarters of UK care homes had received a first Covid jab.

#AceHealthDesk report …………Published: Jan.25: 2021:

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