Pensioners in a north-east town have said they fear facing the winter season without receiving a flu vaccination.
Over-65s in Ellon have labelled the roll-out of this year’s flu jab a “shambles”, with several not receiving letters informing them of their appointment until after their allotted time.
Concerns were also raised about the choice of the out-of-town Ellon Academy as a vaccination venue, with no public busses from parts of the town, and residents without transport unable to accept car lifts from others due to Covid-19 rules.
Resident Adam Brockie said: “It’s a shambles. When my wife and I received letters for our flu vaccination appointments in Ellon, the times were at 11am the same day – before the letters were delivered.
“We have tried to contact NHS Grampian by phone but it is always engaged.
“We are both over 65 and have previously got our flu jabs from our GP, a system which worked well, unlike sending letters that don’t arrive until after the appointment time.”
Among others similarly missing out on their vaccination was Carole Bremner and her husband, who received their letter at 10.45am in the morning, informing them that their appointments were at 8.30am, over two hours earlier.
Other residents were left scrambling for transport to the Academy for their jab.
One, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was given just one day to work out how to get to her vaccination.
“I don’t have family in the area, we can’t car share at the moment, and there’s no way I’m walking from one end of Ellon to the other,” she said.
“It would take over half an hour to get there and the same to get back.
“I can understand why they’re using the Academy, but for people like myself it might have been better to find somewhere more central.”
Eighty-year-old Jack Nixon added: “I understand it suits the purposes of the NHS for the flu jab, but it fails to take into account the requirements of the very age group they are so concerned about.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said there had been “some delays to appointment letters for a very small number of patients”.
She added that any missed appointments would be rescheduled.
Regarding the choice of Ellon Academy as a vaccination venue, the spokeswoman referred to the need for venues large enough to accommodate everyone while maintaining social distancing.
She added: “The present guidance is that only people in a household – or extended household – should share a vehicle.
“However, the Scottish Government guidance states that if there is no alternative, then everyone in the vehicle should follow the safe travel guidance.”