By Lucy Ashton

Jackie Baillie has spoken of her frustration that the Covid vaccination programme in Helensburgh has got off to a false start with people turning up for prearranged appointments only to be told there were no Covid vaccines available.

A constituent contacted the MSP and explained that he and his wife, who are both in their 70s, arranged online appointments during which they were advised they would get both flu and Covid vaccinations.

However when they attended at the clinic at Victoria Halls on Tuesday, sleeves rolled up, they were informed that they could only receive flu jabs as the Covid vaccination was not yet available.

The couple were told around 350 people were due to attend for their vaccinations on that day alone and those slots would have to be rearranged.

Jackie Baillie said: “It is difficult to believe that we are now almost three years on from when the first Covid vaccination was administered and yet there are still serious problems with the roll-out of the programme locally. This is a false start for the programme which has been brought forward by both governments due to a surge in Covid cases.

“People in Helensburgh are tired of turning up for their appointments only to be let down with no Covid vaccinations being available and no indication of when it will be available.

“The Scottish Government need to work closely with local health boards and health and social care partnerships to sort this problem out and make sure the programme goes smoothly from now on.”

The pensioner said: “The person at reception said there were 350 people due in that day. It wasn’t until I got my sleeve rolled up and I was ready to go that they said there were no Covid vaccinations available.

“My wife and I go on holiday at the end of the week and we wanted to make sure we were up to date with our jabs but that’s not going to happen now.

“You would think by this time, they would have it all sorted out and it would be plain sailing but we are right at the start and there’s already a problem.”

Dame Jackie Baillie and Dr Emilia Crighton, Director of Public Health.

The Health Board announced yesterday that Scotland’s winter vaccination programme has started in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, with residents aged 50-64, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde staff, and vulnerable groups being offered the flu vaccine.

Invitations to book or attend an appointment have already been sent to those eligible for a flu vaccine by post, in a white NHS Scotland envelope, by email or text, depending on communication preferences.

Those who have still to book their appointment are urged to do so now at Login – Customer Service ( and select their local NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde winter vaccine clinic.

If you are aged over 65 years or aged 16-64 years and have an underlying condition, the flu vaccine can also be administered at participating pharmacies from Monday, 18th September 2023.

A full list of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinics and participating pharmacies can be found on the NHS Glasgow and Greater Clyde website: NHSGGC – Autumn Winter Vaccination Programme 2023/24.

Flu cases were at their highest nationally since 2018/19 last year, with over 14,000 confirmed cases across all age groups. Dr Emilia Crighton, Director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said:  “Flu is serious and even healthy people can become very ill from it.

“The flu virus is always changing and getting vaccinated every year is the best way to stay protected for the whole winter season. The roll-out of this winter vaccination program provides eligible groups with the opportunity to get ahead of these viruses prior to the cold, winter months hitting hard. It is the best way for people to protect themselves and their loved ones,” she said.

New clinics include , Alexandria Community Centre, Alexandria, and The Hub Community Centre, Clydebank.  A full list of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinics can be found on the NHS Glasgow and Greater Clyde website: NHSGGC – Autumn Winter Vaccination Programme 2023/24.

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