AGE Scotland has backed the Glasgow Times flu jab campaign after being inundated with calls from worried pensioners.

Some of the country’s most vulnerable elderly people have turned to the charity in recent weeks after it emerged the a delay in the flu jab rollout meant it could be November or December.

Helpline staff have listened to heartbreaking tales from older people who feel they’ve been “left in limbo” as they await word from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) about their appointment.

Adam Stachura, Age Scotland’s head of policy, said: “While we welcomed the Scottish Government’s move to extend flu vaccine eligibility to all over-55s, it’s unfortunate that so many older people in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland are struggling to get one.

“Our helpline has heard from numerous callers, including people in their 70s and 80s with health conditions, who are extremely anxious because they haven’t been able to get an appointment.

“Many report that younger friends and relatives have already received theirs, but they can’t get any information or even get through to someone on the phone.”

He added: “Some callers have told us they can’t get an appointment til November or December this year, despite official advice to get it as soon as possible. Others have been offered the flu jab at a central location that requires several buses to reach, or a drive-through clinic when they don’t drive.

“A system that prioritises younger people over older and more vulnerable ones makes absolutely no sense, and could put people’s health at risk needlessly.

Read more: Flu jab crisis: MSPs back campaign plea to speed up jags for elderly

“We all know that the flu vaccine is more vital than ever this year, and older people are more likely to suffer serious illness from both flu and Covid-19.”

As previously reported in our sister title The Herald, the charity’s chief executive Brian Sloan said the situation was causing “frustration and anxiety” among elderly people in Glasgow.

Pensioners have voiced their anger at “mixed messages” as the Scottish Government continues to stress the importance of receiving the flu jag as soon as possible – yet efforts to make an appointment are unsuccessful.

Worried readers told the Glasgow Times – after months of being classed as the most vulnerable to succumb to coronavirus – the added fear of getting the jab too late was becoming to much to bear for some.

It comes less than two months after interim deputy chief medical officer, Dr Nicola Steedman, warned that catching both infections at once would be “extremely serious”.

Patients with Covid-19 and flu were twice as likely to die, she said, compared to those with coronavirus alone.

Adam said: “We’re pleased to support the Glasgow Evening Times’ campaign and join them in calling on the Scottish Government and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to ensure the most vulnerable can get their flu jabs first.

“We urgently need to improve this system and speed up the appointments process for those who need it most.”

When quizzed about the busy phone lines previously, NHSGGC said an increase in uptake was to blame.

A spokeswoman said: ““We have prioritised the older age group of 65+ along with those who are at risk ahead of the new cohort of 55-64 years of age.

“This is to ensure that all those who need it most, will have access to an appointment and the opportunity to be vaccinated before the start of flu season.”

She added: “The timing of the flu season varies each year but usually commences later in December or in the New Year, followed by two to three months of flu transmission.

Although it takes around two weeks to make a response to the vaccine, immunisation before the end of December should provide protection although the aim is to immunise as early as possible.”