TODAY the Glasgow Times calls on Scotland’s health boards to Give Our OAPs a Shot.

Hundreds of Glasgow’s pensioners have been left feeling “worthless and terrified” due to the “shambolic” flu jab rollout.

More than 150 calls have been to the Glasgow Times over the past two days from frightened OAPs – and dozens of vulnerable people under the age of 65 – who are yet to receive an appointment for the lifesaving flu vaccination.

As winter looms, many of the country’s most vulnerable have hit out at the health board’s handling of the vaccine programme.

Our investigation has revealed the heartbreaking reality faced by elderly people in Glasgow as OAPs who have contributed to the country’s health service for decades are now forced to scrape together cash to fork out for a private vaccination.

Meanwhile, others are desperately trying to master IT skills needed to contact the health board via email as calls to a helpline “go ­unanswered”.

Read more: Fury as over 65s in Glasgow face major delay for flu jab

Critics have branded the situation a “national scandal” and, today, the Glasgow Times is launching a campaign to put an end to the mess.

As previously reported, this is the first year health boards have taken charge of the vaccination which was previously handled by individual GP surgeries.

An agreement between the Scottish Government and the BMA trade union prompted the centralisation deal, which was due to come into force in 2021.

However, the coronavirus pandemic meant the change was brought in


It has since emerged both the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) and NHS Lanarkshire health board had chosen to implement the Scottish Immunisation Recall System (SIRS).

Originally designed for childhood vaccination, SIRS prioritises appointments from the youngest to the oldest.

It is now feared the city’s most vulnerable could be forced to wait until December before being vaccinated.

We are calling on health boards to put an end to the delays and ensure our most vulnerable are vaccinated within weeks – not months.

When approached by the Glasgow Times regarding our campaign, the Scottish Government confirmed it would intervene to ensure the health board scrapped the controversial SIRS system – insisting, instead, priority would now be based from oldest to youngest.

A spokeswoman said: “The Health Secretary has been very clear that it was not acceptable to have a scheduling system for the flu vaccine that did not prioritise older patients in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde.

“Ministers are closely monitoring the situation, and are in regular discussion with the board to ensure that those at the greatest clinical risk from seasonal flu are able to receive their vaccination in advance of flu season.

“We understand that following our intervention, Greater Glasgow and Clyde are now taking action to address this and that patients will now be prioritised from oldest to youngest, going forward, with all patients sent the details of their ­appointment.”

Read more: Anger over Glasgow flu vaccine roll-out that will see oldest get jags last

She added: “We have procured enough vaccine to vaccinate all those who are eligible, modelled on a demand of 2.4 million people, and regardless of the order of scheduling appointments everyone aged 65 and over, or at a greater risk from the seasonal flu will have received an appointment in advance of the flu season starting, which is between December and January.”

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “This year there has been a number of changes to the annual flu programme including the number of people eligible for flu vaccine increasing by nearly 50%.

“This combined with social distancing and infection control precautionary measures, which are in place because of Covid-19, means that additional measures have been required.

“To ensure we can meet these requirements, community vaccination hubs had to be established to enable those eligible to receive their vaccination safely.

“As the largest Health Board in Scotland, we will be vaccinating in excess of 400,000 people and we are committed to ensuring that all those who are eligible will receive their vaccination between October and December as they have done in previous years. So far, the uptake of vaccinations has been significant and around 90,000 of those within the ‘at risk’ and 65+ year old groups have now been vaccinated.

“NHS Board/HSCP clinics and GP practice clinics are working together to complete the programme before the flu season begins in December to provide them with protection against this year’s seasonal flu.

“We are working hard with national agencies to give people appointments as early as possible.

“Although our plans meant everyone would be immunised in time for the flu virus starting to circulate we are very aware of ­concerns amongst particularly ­older members of our communities if they have not yet had an appointment date.

“We have taken swift action to speed up the distribution of letters, so that all those remaining will now to be sent by National Services Scotland before the end of October.

“Our team continues to do everything they can to support people who need to change their appointment should they be unable to attend the one they have been assigned.

Read more: Who is eligible and how can you get one?

“We also understand that some members of the public have raised concerns about public transport and the ability to travel to their community vaccination centre. We are working with community pharmacies to provide local alternatives in areas where transport may be an issue.

“In addition, we have increased capacity at several of our vaccination centres in the region so that those eligible, and in particular, those in the 75+ age group can have the opportunity to be vaccinated sooner.”

To support our campaign, sign our petition here.