By Lucy Ashton

Public Health teams at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have issued an urgent appeal to members of the public to help reduce queues at COVID vaccination centres.

As the spread of the Omicron variant continues, more and more people are coming forward to receive their jag and clinics up and down the country are experiencing queuing. In response, NHSGCC has recruited more vaccinators and is utilising support from Armed Forces personnel, meaning that more people than ever are being seen, including a whopping 17,000 in just one day last week. However, with the increased rush for people to get protected before Christmas, there is increased pressure on clinics.

To try and help reduce queues in the coming days, NHSGGC is asking members of the public to please follow these five simple steps, which should help the vaccination process run more smoothly for everyone.

  1. Appointment is best: By booking your slot, you are more likely to be seen. NHSGGC runs a mix of appointment and drop-in clinics, and members of the public should only attend a drop in clinic without an appointment.
  2. Don’t turn up too early – five minutes before is sufficient: One of the main causes of queues is people turning up very early for their appointment. This means that patients who turn up on time have to join a queue and have a wait. We are asking people to turn up just five minutes before their appointments. If everyone can do this, it will help us to cut queues significantly.
  3. Please check your eligibility before you travel: Currently, NHSGGC is vaccinating all eligible age groups by appointment and in priority order. Drop-ins are only available to people aged 40 and over and Health and Social Care Workers so that we can prioritise people who are in excess of 12 weeks from their second dose. More information is available on our website about eligibility criteria.
  4. Avoid the busy periods and consider travelling to a quieter or larger clinic if you can: NHSGGC vaccination centres have a large number of appointments available throughout the day, but please consider the time you book. Also, remember to check availability at clinics a little further away from your local area if you are able to travel. There are thousands of appointments available at Hampden Park Stadium on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 December, so if you can go slightly further for an appointment, this may help to take pressure off some of the smaller clinics and free appointments up for others who cannot travel. There are also clinics in other Health Board areas which might be easier for some people to get to and these are also available to book vial the national portal.
  5. Everyone can help: If everybody sticks to these simple rules, we can all make a difference and help stop long queues.

Anne Harkness, Vaccination Programme Director for NHSGGC, said: “Coming forward to receive the vaccine is one of the biggest things we can all do to protect ourselves and others from the virus, and especially from the Omicron variant. We are delighted that so many people across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are answering the call to roll up their sleeves, and we thank every one of them for supporting the fight against the virus.

“Over the past couple of weeks, we have stepped up our vaccination programme to unprecedented levels, however, like many other Health Boards and Trusts across the UK, our vaccination centres are experiencing queues – and we need your help to tackle the issues.

“Today we have shared five simple steps to help reduce the queues, and we would encourage everyone to take them to heart. If we all do our bit, we can make this vaccination programme run more smoothly for everybody.”

Emma Finlay, Vaccination Lead Nurse at NHSGGC, said: “The vaccination teams are so thankful to everyone who have come forward for their vaccination, especially those who have experienced queues. We are trying to get everyone vaccinated as swiftly and safely as possible to ensure that as many people as possible are fully jagged before Christmas.

“I would like to ask members of the public to please be patient with the clinic teams, please consider the five steps and we will look forward to seeing many more of you very soon.”

NHSGGC runs a mixture of appointment and drop-in clinics, in an attempt to make the vaccine available to everybody. More details are available at the NHSGGC website and via our social media channels. To book your appointment, go to NHS Inform or call the national helpline on 0800 030 8013.

If you have missed your appointment, call the national helpline and you will be able to reschedule.

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