Vaccination: when, how to book and where you’ll be vaccinated

Wednesday February 3rd 2021


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Joseph Anderson

NHS Lothian has released further details of its coronavirus vaccination programme, including when it expects to vaccinate each demographic and how residents will be able to book vaccinations.

Which vaccine will I receive?

That depends on when you receive your vaccine, and where.

Currently, two vaccines have been approved and are in use, the BioNTech-Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, both of which require two doses spaced over up to 12 weeks.

Since their introduction, government policy changed from giving the second dose at 21 and 28 days respectively to giving it up to 12 weeks for both.

This was made on the basis that both vaccines confer significant protection after the first dose and that the greater public health priority is to maximise coverage of first dose rather than of second dose.

The Pfizer jag was approved in early December and has therefore been used for the earliest parts of NHS Lothian’s vaccination programme.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was approved in late December and has been deployed into the newer parts of the programme.

A third vaccine, Moderna, has been approved but will not come into use until the spring of 2021.

According to NHS Lothian, the vaccines have different characteristics in terms of cold chain and administration that mean they are not both suitable for all venues being utilised by the health board.

When will I receive my vaccine?

The Scottish Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has published guidance outlining nine demographic groups, and ordered them in terms of priority.

From highest priority to lowest, they are:

  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. All those 80 years of age or older, and frontline health and social care workers
  3. All those aged 75 or older
  4. All those aged 70 or older, and ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ (CEV) individuals
  5. All those aged 65 or older
  6. All individuals aged 16 to 64-years-old with underlying health condition ‘which put them at higher risk of serious disease or mortality’
  7. All those aged 60 or older
  8. All those aged 55 or older
  9. All those aged 50 or older

Wave one

The first wave of NHS Lothian’s vaccination programme, which began in December 2020, focuses on priority groups one and two.

In Edinburgh and the Lothians, 88,019 people qualify for the first wave of vaccinations, and NHS Lothian expects this first wave to be completed, with initial doses, by February 5.

Wave two

Wave two, which began at the start of February with the opening of NHS Lothians mass vaccination centres, focuses on priority groups three, four and five.

There are 119,947 people who qualify for wave two of the vaccination programme in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

NHS Lothian is aiming for everyone in priority groups three, four and five to receive a vaccine offer in the first two weeks of February.

Those aged 75 to 79 and CEVs will be vaccinated through their GP surgery, while NHS Lothian is aiming to vaccinate those aged 70 to 74 through local health and social care partnership clinics and mass vaccination centres in the first two weeks of February.

Then, the health board is aiming to vaccinate all 65 to 69 year olds, again in clinics and mass vaccination centres, in the last two weeks of the month.

Wave three

Wave three will take place in March, and will aim to offer everyone in priority group six – those aged 16 to 64-years-old and with underlying conditions – a vaccine.

There are 122,337 people who qualify for wave three of the vaccination programme in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Wave four

Wave four will take place in April and May, and will aim to offer vaccines to everyone in priority groups seven, eight and nine – those aged between 50 and 64.

There are 110,876 people who qualify for wave four of the vaccination programme in Edinburgh and the Lothians

Wave five

Wave five, which will focus on everyone else – people aged 16 to 49-years-old and with no underlying conditions – will take place from May onwards.

How will I book my appointment?

Wave one

For wave one (priority groups one and two), staff vaccination took place via a local system run by NHS Lothian.

For care homes, booking was organised through the management of each care home, and for the people aged over 80 the booking was organised by their general practice.

Wave two

For wave two, booking for 75 to 79-year-olds and CEVs is being organised by general practices.

For 70 to 74-year-olds, and 65 to 69-year-olds, booking is being organised through a national system.

The system will send a letter to people in those groups as the supply of vaccine allows, advising of the location, date and time of their vaccination appointment.

NHS Scotland is also providing a helpline for non-clinical queries, as an alternative to accessing that information online on NHSinform, and rebooking appointments (where the original appointment was issued through the national booking system).

Self-service rebookings will also be available online from February 2021.

The Scottish Covid-19 vaccination helpline and booking service is available from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week on 0800 030 8013.

An NHS Lothian briefing, presented to the organisation’s board meeting on Wednesday February 3, reads: “The system is loaded with a file of every member of the cohort in Lothian and it then assigns an appointment based on an algorithm using travel distance.

“The national system started sending appointments to aged 70 to 74 patients on January 22.

“It should be noted that, as a result, patients aged 70 to 74 may receive their appointment details before those aged 75 to 79 and CEV being called by general practice.

“It should also be noted that because the over 80s in wave one are not due to be completed until February 5 and wave to starts on February 1 it is possible that a someone age 70 to 74 could receive vaccination in a health and social care partnership clinic or mass centre before someone age 80 receives it in general practice.

“It is important to note that despite these overlaps in the programme, all patients in wave one will have been offered vaccination by February 5 and all patients in the first part of wave two will have been offered vaccination during the first two weeks of February.”

Waves three, four and five

All patients in wave three onwards will be offered an appointment using the national scheduling system.

Patients can change their appointment and seek further information about the venue by phoning the national call centre.

For patients with specific difficulties the national call centre will pass the enquiry to a local call centre which will be able to support with issues such as accessibility, language, transport etc.

Where will I get my vaccination?

During wave two, those aged 75 to 79 and clinically extremely vulnerable will be vaccinated through general practice.

Those aged 70 to 74-years-old, and those aged 65 to 69-years-old, will be vaccinated through local clinics and mass vaccination centres.

From wave three onwards, everyone will be vaccinated in local clinics and mass vaccination centres.

NHS Lothian has procured several vaccination centres:

  • Edinburgh International Conference Centre – opened its doors on Monday February 1, with 45 vaccination stations and an estimated weekly vaccine capacity of 18,900.
  • Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh – a drive through vaccination centre is set to open on February 10, with an estimated weekly vaccine capacity of 5,040.
  • Pyramids Business Park, West Lothian – set to open on February 15, with an estimated weekly capacity of 14,280.
  • Strathbrock Partnership Centre, West Lothian – open for the first two weeks of February, with an estimated weekly capacity of 2,352.
  • Edinburgh Park, Gyle (former Royal Bank of Scotland building) – set to open on February 15, with an estimated weekly capacity of 13,440.
  • Royal Highland Showground – set to open either March 15 or 20, with an estimated weekly capacity of 21,000, which can be increased by 3,780 if needed.

NHS Lothian has also set up several vaccination clinics throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians:

  • St John’s Hospital
  • Western General Hospital
  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
  • Royal Hospital for Sick Children
  • Royal Alexandra Eye Pavilion Clinic
  • Royal Edinburgh Hospital
  • East Lothian Community Hospital
  • Strathbrock Partnership Centre
  • Stoneyburn Clinic
  • Midlothian Community Hospital
  • Sighthill Health Centre
  • Astley Ainslie Hospital
  • Liberton Hospital
  • Pennywell All Care Centre
  • Leith Community Treatment Centre
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