By Lucy Ashton

Jackie Baillie, right, has urged residents in Helensburgh and Lomond to attend for their scheduled Covid vaccination appointments when called as the first phase of the local programme is set to be completed.

Vaccinators have been left overwhelmed by people turning up without appointments in addition to all those invited to attend by the Argyll & Bute Health and Social Care partnership.

Despite this, the Dumbarton constituency MSP was reassured no-one was turned away from Helensburgh Parish Church with more vaccinations delivered than had been scheduled.

Jackie Baillie met with Fiona Davies, Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer and Head of Primary Care, Evan Beswick to raise concerns which had been brought to her attention by constituents. They had been forced to wait for two hours or more despite having scheduled appointments.

She was advised that clinics will be held again in Helensburgh from October 18th with all over-50s and those with compromised immunity set to be vaccinated locally by the end of November.

As well as clinics in Helensburgh, there will also be vaccinations carried out in Cove and Garelochhead on October 19th and 21st respectively.

Jackie Baillie said: “My inbox has been inundated with people having to queue for up to two hours because of issues at the vaccination site at Helensburgh Parish Church. It is unacceptable that our older residents were having to wait for such a long time for a scheduled appointment.

“I want to thank the vaccinators for their hard work but I have raised my concerns directly with Fiona and Evan over communications which have led to people believing these were drop-in clinics and I hope lessons can be learned in future. There were simply not enough vaccinators to meet demand.

“I would urge anyone who is called in the next tranche to ensure they attend at their allotted time to try and combat the queues.

“I understand that people over 50 should be able to pre-book an appointment through NHS Inform and I suggest members of the community from this age group to do so as soon as possible.

“I am worried about reports that there is a severe strain of flu heading our way and with Covid infections on the rise, vaccination is still the most effective way of protecting ourselves from serious illness.”

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