A pensioner is demanding answers after the Glasgow Times stepped in to ensure he received his Covid-19 jab.

James McLelland, 68, from Bridgeton, contacted the Glasgow Times after claiming he never received an appointment letter from the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) inviting him for the crucial vaccine.

After attempting to call the NHSGGC’s dedicated support line five times in over a month, he was directed to an online form via NHS Inform. Mr McLelland does not have access to the internet as he does not have a computer or smart phone and his daughter, who has a learning disability, was not able to assist him.

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He was instead directed to an online form through NHS Inform for those who believe they have been missed. As he does not have access to the internet, Mr McLelland was not able to access this and his daughter, who has a learning disability, was unable to assist him.

He said: “They took my details and put them in the computer and passed it on, but I didn’t hear anything. The following week I phoned again, I did the same thing again, name address everything else, nothing. Another week again, same thing again, nothing. Another week again, nothing.”

Mr McLelland then took his case to local MSP, John Mason. Despite this, he feels he has been given the runaround.

Glasgow Times:

The Glasgow Times contacted the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde last week about Mr McLelland’s concerns. He has since been invited for his jab, which he received on Friday. However, Mr McLelland is still looking for answers as to why he was missed.

He said: “Why did I have to go to the newspaper to get my jab?”

“How can people who have not had their vaccination and don’t have email, they can’t contact by phone or anything and they don’t get a reply? This is four and a half weeks now I’ve been waiting for my appointment.”

After losing his wife earlier this year, Mr McLelland was keen to get the vaccine so he can start getting back to a sense of normality.

He said: “I lost my wife on January 1 and I’ve been right down. When I go for my messages, I go for my prescriptions, I’m worried if people ask me if I’ve had the injection and I say not yet, they’ll look at me and ask ‘Oh, do I stay away from him?’ incase they catch it off me.

“How many other people is this affecting who aren’t speaking out about it?”

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed “virtually all” over 65s had received their vaccine. However according to local MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, John Mason, it appears some may have been missed and there are others around Mr McLelland’s age who have fallen through the cracks.

Glasgow Times:

He said: “Our understanding is that on the whole the vaccine programme is going well. However, there are clearly a few individuals who have been missed out for some reason or other. We have had one or two constituents over 65 years old in touch and they should have been offered an appointment by now.

“We have not had much success in phoning the helplines. They can confirm that someone has been missed out but cannot seem to offer an actual appointment. So we are now pursuing NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as to how they suggest we take forward such cases.”

Mr McLelland added: “Thank you very much to the Glasgow Times for all of their help. I can’t thank you enough. It’s a big weight off my mind.”

A spokeswoman for the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: 

We’re sorry that Mr McLellan experienced difficulty in making his appointment. We’re pleased to confirm that Mr McLellan received his vaccination on March 19.

"We’re delighted that so many people have attended their vaccination. The Scottish Government has provided digital and telephone services which support the delivery of the vaccination programme across Scotland. The Scottish COVID-19 vaccination helpline and booking service is available from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week on 0800 030 8013.

"If you think you should have received an appointment by now, or have lost your invitation letter, visit NHSinform Missing Appointments for information on what to do next."