MORE than two million Scots will be offered appointments over the next three months as the winter vaccine programme gets underway.
Elderly care home residents are among the first to receive Covid-19 and flu vaccines as the measure aims to help protect the public and relieve pressure on the NHS.
Invitations will have been sent to all over-65s by the end of the week, with a reported 41,000 frontline health and social care workers having booked appointments through the portal since it opened last month.
Both new bivalent vaccines, which target Omicron and the original variant of Covid-19, will be deployed alongside existing vaccines, though the vaccination individuals receive will depend on age and availability.
Both the current and new bivalent vaccines provide protection from severe illness and hospitalisation from known Covid-19 variants.
The Covid-19 vaccine will be given at the same time as the flu jab where possible.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf visited the Victoria Manor care home in Edinburgh, where residents Agnes Taylor and Andrew Young were among those being vaccinated.
Mr Yousaf said: “This country is indebted to those dedicated frontline workers who work tirelessly to get the majority of Scots immunised all year round – and whose efforts have led to a sharp reduction in hospitalisations in recent months.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourselves, your loved ones, and the NHS from both Covid-19 and flu viruses, and I encourage you to take up the offer of a booster when you receive your appointment.”
Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership Primary Care Strategic Lead David White said: “Like colleagues across Scotland, we’ve been preparing for the winter vaccination programme.
“Everyone eligible across Edinburgh, should have easy, local access to receive both flu and Covid-19 vaccinations.
“As with other recent campaigns, we have made special arrangements for care home residents and others who are recognised as ‘house-bound’.
“This includes the eligible partners and carers who will be able to be vaccinated during the same visit.”
93-year-old Victoria Manor resident Mrs Taylor said: “It’s good being able to have both vaccinations at the same time here in the care home.
“I’m getting both to help my protection and for the protection and safety of others in the care home or visiting.”
Eligible people are being advised that they should wait until they are contacted or called forward.
Where possible, the winter Covid-19 booster will be given at the same time as the flu vaccine to those who are eligible.