By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, raised issues about Dumbarton’s COVID-19 vaccination centre with Nicola Sturgeon during First Minister’s Questions.
This comes as over 200 people – with vaccination appointments – were turned away from the vaccination centre at Dumbarton’s Masonic Hall on Wednesday evening.
Jackie Baillie raised the need for everyone to get a booster quickly and described people being turned away as unacceptable.
Many of the people turned away have been unable to make follow up appointments on-line. She also asked the First Minister to ensure that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde put on more vaccination clinics in Dumbarton to meet demand.
Jackie Baillie, pictured right, said: ““It is unacceptable that local people who have made appointments to receive their vaccinations and boosters are being turned away. I know how important being vaccinated is to local people so that they can protect themselves and others from the new covid variant.
“I am glad that the First Minister agreed with me that people simply shouldn’t be turned away from centres and I hope that she urges the health board to put on more clinics to meet demand.
“I encourage anyone who was turned away to rebook an appointment as soon as they can. If you have difficulty doing so please get in touch with my office.”
One woman in the queue, Caroline Lamond, complained that she was tenth in the queue when everyo0ne was told told the hall doors would be locked as staff had to go home.
Caroline, who has had her slot booked for several weeks, said: “My appointment was at 6.15pm. There was a steward at the end of the queue. When I turned up, I said to him ‘is this a drop-in clinic?’ but he said ‘no, all of these people have appointments’.
“I asked him why the queue was so big. He said ‘if you want to stay, you can but I can’t guarantee you aren’t going to get turned away’. There were a lot of people saying ‘why would we get turned away? We have got appointments.’
“I decided to stay as did the people in front of me and behind me. I got to the front at about 7pm and was told the doors were locked because ‘the staff need to go home. They have been working all day’. Apparently there were only six members of staff on. It’s dire.”
There were reports on social media of people waiting for appointment slots as late as 7.30pm and also being turned away.
Now there are concerns those who had their appointments but were told they weren’t getting jabbed last night may struggle to have the booster in time for Christmas as the online portal recognises that a slot was booked.
Caroline added: “When you go in to try and rebook, the system thinks you have had it. I don’t know how long it’s going to be and I don’t know what’s going to happen if we show up at a drop-in clinic. Of course, the way that the rates are now and with Christmas coming up, it’s a bit scary.”
Top picture: The Masonic Hall in Church Street, Dumbarton.