North-east health chiefs have issued a vaccine reminder for those in the priority groups who have not yet had their first dose to get in touch.
NHS Grampian is nearing the end of the first phase of the rollout, which will see all over-50s and those under 50 who are classed as high-risk vaccinated against coronavirus.
However, the health board is keen to reach people who may have been missed, and wants them to get in touch.
Katrina Morrison, clinical lead nurse for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the north-east, said: “We have made amazing progress in the programme to date, with more than 270,000 people across Grampian receiving their first dose.
“If anyone in cohorts 1-9 has not yet been offered an appointment, they should complete the form developed by NHS Inform as a matter of urgency.”
NHS Grampian has issued the vaccine reminder because it wants to ensure everyone due to be seen has been.
Phase two of the programme – delivering the jag to all other adults – is to begin shortly.
Katrina added: “I would urge anyone outwith cohorts 1-9 – that is, all adults aged 49 and under – to be patient and not get in contact at present.
“We will be moving into the next phase of vaccination soon, but we are not in a position to confirm appointments with anyone aged 49 or under – and not in a priority group – at present.
“Our success in the vaccination programme is down to a significant amount of hard work by teams working across health and social care – and the willingness of the general public to roll up their sleeves and take the jab. We are so grateful to everyone involved.”
Yesterday medicine regulators concluded that people under the age of 30 should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab, after a study linked the vaccine to a rare form of blood clot.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) safety committee stressed that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine continue to outweigh any risks for most people.
But, following a review of all available evidence, the EMA said that “unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects” of the vaccine.
The findings come after a number of European countries restricted use of the vaccine in younger people after reports of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a specific type of clot that prevents blood from draining from the brain.
In the UK, 30 people have developed the clots – and seven have died as a result – out of 18 million people who have received the vaccine.
Following a review of all available evidence, the EMA said the blood clots reported had been found in veins in the brain, the abdomen and arteries, combined with low levels of blood platelets and sometimes bleeding.
The EMA said symptoms associated with the blood clots include shortness of breath, chest pain, swelling in the leg, persistent abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision and tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the area where the injection was administered, and anyone who displayed them should seek medical attention.
Emer Cooke, executive director of the EMA, sought to downplay concerns at a press conference.
She said: “These are very rare side effects. The risk of mortality from Covid is much greater than risk of mortality from these side effects.”
In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there were still huge benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19, and has not concluded that it causes rare clots, although it says the link is getting firmer.
As a result, those under the age of 30 will be offered Pfizer or Moderna instead of the AstraZeneca jab.
The UK’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the move was nothing more than a small “course correction” in the vaccination programme.
He said it was “quite normal” for medics to alter their preferences on how to treat patients.
He added: “This is a massive beast that we are driving along at enormous pace with enormous success, this vaccine programme.
“If you sail a massive liner across the Atlantic then it’s not really reasonable that you aren’t going to have to make at least one course correction during that voyage.”
.@AstraZeneca has been at the heart of our fight against coronavirus, and they are also playing a big part in our efforts to #BuildBackBetter from the pandemic and make the UK a science superpower. pic.twitter.com/3TtBKzv80x
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 6, 2021
If you are over 50 and think you may have been missed for a vaccination appointment, call NHS Grampian on the following numbers:
Aberdeenshire 0330 128 9919
Aberdeen 0800 030 4713
Moray 0345 337 9899