SENIOR politicians have backed a Glasgow Times campaign calling for a urgent fix to the national flu jab scandal.

Opposition MSPs have joined forces to urge Scottish health boards to speed up the vaccination process which has saw hundreds of the country’s most vulnerable and elderly facing lengthy delays.

Yesterday, the Glasgow Times launched its Giver Our OAPs a Shot bid after we were inundated with calls from terrified readers who were left in the dark over their jags.

Our investigation has revealed hundreds of people across the country are still waiting for an appointment letter as flu season rapidly approaches.

Monica Lennon MSP, Labour’s shadow cabinet secretary for health, said: “It’s never been more important to get the flu vaccination programme right.

“NHS staff are working incredibly hard but the flu vaccination programme was in trouble before it even started.

“The Scottish Government must act fast to ensure health boards have the right resources and that those most at risk aren’t being forced to wait for protection from the flu.”

She added: “Through sharing the experiences of your readers, the Glasgow Times has rightly championed their cause and put the flu jab chaos on the agenda.

“Now the Health Secretary must act.

Read more: Glasgow Times launches Give Our OAPs a Shot campaign

“I support the Glasgow Times campaign because the people of Glasgow, like those across Scotland, need protection from winter flu and Covid-19.

“A national effort is needed to get this right.”

Meanwhile, Conservative MSP Annie Wells has also pledged her support to initiative.

She said: “The roll-out of winter flu jabs this year has been an absolute shambles.

“The Scottish Conservatives have made clear that changes must be made and that people in at-risk groups should be given priority.

“We have called for SNP ministers to come to parliament, explain what has gone wrong and provide solutions to fix this so that people in areas like Greater Glasgow and Clyde who need a vaccination are not missing out.”

The plea comes just days after the first national EU Flu Day to encourage European nations to roll out their vaccination programmes.

Former Spanish minister for health and MEP Dolors Montserrat is spearheading the campaign, which is supported by Vaccines Europe, in a bid to avoid a “twindemic” as flu season approaches.

The World Health Organisation warned the seasonal flu – which estimated to kill up to 70,000 deaths across the continent each year – could provide a dual threat alongside Covid-19 if government’s don’t act quickly.

The health organisation has recommended countires aim for a 75% vaccine coverage rate among at-risk groups.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which is Scotland’s largest health board, says it plans to inoculate more than 400,000 people with the number of people eligible for the jab increasing by almost 50% this year.

So far, the health board claims the uptake from people in and around Glasgow has been “significant”.

However, less than a quarter of the almost half a million patients are yet to receive their jag, with just 90,000 people in either the

at-risk group or the 65-years-old and above age group being vaccinated to date.

A spokeswoman for the health board said: “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.

Read more: Glasgow pensioners heartache as we campaign to Give Our OAPs a Shot

“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.”

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added: “We have been working with the Scottish Government to ensure swift action was taken to speed up the distribution of appointment letters. This will be completed by the end of October.

“NHSGGC will also continue to take opportun-ities to increase capacity at our vaccination centres where possible so that those in the 75+ age group may be vaccinated sooner.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “I have been 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. Following my intervention, Greater Glasgow and Clyde are now taking action to ensure patients will now be prioritised from oldest to youngest, going forward, with all patients sent the details of their appointment.

“This is the largest flu immunisation program ever delivered in Scotland, with a planning assumptions of 2.4m people taking up the vaccine –almost double last year’s uptake. Health boards are working extremely hard, and at pace to ensure that 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.”