YOUNG people aged 16 to 17 will not receive their second COVID-19 vaccination in school, and instead need to book themselves in using the new national portal.
That is the message as part of national moves to the self-appointing system which is also asking people aged 40 and above, unpaid Carers and household contacts of immune-suppressed to book in for their booster jag 12 weeks from their second dose.
And calls to act now and book your vaccination are growing amid heightened concerns over the transmissibility of the new Omicron variant.
Immunisation Co-ordinator Dr Nigel Calvert said: “Amazingly, we have still to record our first case of the Omicron variant, but we know that it is now present across much of Scotland, that it’s only a matter of time, and that when it does arrive it spreads extremely quickly.
“It really is a race to try and ensure everyone eligible is as fully vaccinated as possible against the Omicron variant, as this really does offer the highest possible degree of defence.
“Young people aged 16 to 17 should not wait for appointment letters, and no jags will be taking place in school. Instead, when at least 12 weeks from their first COVID jag they need to book themselves in for their second by visiting the national portal at https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp or telephoning free on 0800 030 8013.
“Similarly, everyone aged 40 and above, an unpaid Carer or household contact of someone immune-suppressed needs to take action themselves to book their booster and/or flu vaccination by visiting https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp or calling 0800 030 8013 once 12 weeks from their second jag.
“I can’t emphasise enough how important it is that people act now, with spaces available at locations across the region until the end of December.
“The system allows people to choose their own day, time and location, so please act now and help your body develop as much immunity as possible against COVID and the new variant.
“Studies are showing that a booster doesn’t just top up your body’s own immune-resistance to COVID to where it was after the first and second jag – it actually sees it increase to a higher point than after either previous vaccinations.
“Don’t view the booster as an optional add-on – it really is vital in defending against COVID as we approach winter months with the threat of Omicron.”
Dr Calvert added: “We’re still learning about the new Omicron variant, and more will be known over coming days. However, we do know that it is highly transmissible, and it has the potential to spread our region in the same way the Alpha variant did beginning at Christmas last year.
“The impact on our communities, and the ability for businesses and essential services to function could be significant.
“So please, continue to follow the guidance which can help reduce spread, including regular testing, but vitally please do act now to ensure you are as fully vaccinated as possible.”