Uptake of the Covid vaccine among shielders and patients over 75 years at Riverside Medical Practice has been high, the surgery revealed today. The Practice – who have now vaccinated over 1,600 people at the surgery – says that the vast majority of patients were delighted to accept the invitation to an appointment, with many praising the efficient way the vaccine clinics were run by the team at Riverside.
A huge 96% of patients aged 75-79 years rolled up their sleeves to get their first jag, along with 86% of shielders and 95% of patients aged over 80 – all substantially higher than the initial 80% expected by the Scottish Government when the vaccine programme first began.
“We’re delighted that so many of our patients accepted our invitation to have their first dose of the Covid vaccine,” said Dr Richard Fairclough, GP Partner at the Practice.
“Age is a significant risk factor for Covid, so it’s great news that such a large proportion of our oldest patients – and our vulnerable shielding patients – are now on track to be immunised against this disease which has disrupted all of our lives so much.”
“It’s so important that everyone sticks to the mask-wearing, social distancing and good hand hygiene for a good while yet, but we should be optimistic about the success of the vaccination programme so far.”
The Practice puts a lot of its success in terms of vaccine uptake down to its policy of personally contacting all eligible patients by phone, to invite them to their appointment.
“We feel that a conversation with someone at a Practice may increase vaccine uptake, over and above the uptake in response to letters or text messages,” continued Dr Fairclough.
“Our GPs had quite a few conversations with people who wanted some reassurance about the vaccine, and we’re so pleased that with many people, the information we gave them about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine gave them the confidence they needed to go ahead and book their appointment. Our letter follow-up programme also led to some patients from harder-to-reach groups, such as non-English speakers, booking an appointment.”
The Practice will be contacting shielders and everyone over 75 years about their second doses, once they receive further instruction from the Government and health board and have more information on vaccine supplies. Patients are asked to wait to be contacted about their second dose appointment, to make sure the Practice phone line remains free for people with urgent health concerns. Appointments are currently expected to take place around 12 weeks after patients had their first dose.
Only patients over 75 and patients in priority group four are due to be vaccinated at the surgery. All other people are due to be vaccinated by NHS Lothian and should wait to be contacted by them.