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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-04039
Asked by: Paul O'Kane, West Scotland, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 3 November 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of some people aged over 60 who are not in the shielding category reportedly being invited to receive their COVID-19 booster vaccine, whether people in this group are receiving this invitation ahead of people who are in the shielding category, and who received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine over six months ago, and, if so, for what reason people in these groups are being invited to receive their booster in this order.

Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 17 November 2021


Answer

The primary objective of the booster programme is to maintain protection against severe COVID-19 disease, specifically hospitalization and deaths, over winter 2021-22, and is aimed at maintaining protection in those most vulnerable and to protect the NHS. The autumn/winter vaccination programme also includes the biggest ever flu vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is clear that both of these programmes are important for individual and public health. So, wherever possible, eligible people will be offered COVID-19 and influenza vaccines together.

Booster vaccines will be offered to the same groups who were prioritized at the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in winter and spring 2020-21, and JCVI have advised that at least 6 months should have passed since a second dose before a booster is administered, however there is some flexibility to offer a booster vaccination to the most vulnerable groups after five months.

The Autumn/Winter vaccination programme continues to roll out in line with advice from the JCVI. The JCVI priority groups are based on either vulnerability to COVID-19, or on interacting with, and therefore possibly spreading to, people who are vulnerable to COVID-19. When someone received their invitation will depend on a number of personal circumstances.

Decisions to prioritise one population group over another are not taken lightly, nor are they straightforward. That is why our prioritisation decisions have been, and will continue to be, guided by the independent expert advice from the JCVI.