First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to consider prioritising transplant patients in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine.
MSP Edward Mountain called for Ms Sturgeon to raise the issue urgently with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
During constituency questions with the First Minister, the Highland MSP called for consideration of the matter following calls from concerned constituents.
He said: “First Minister, I know a lot of joint work has gone into identifying the priority for vaccine delivery. Organ donation, which leads to a transplant is one of the greatest gifts that can be given and indeed received.
“I have had constituents contact me who are currently on the transplant list but aren’t prioritised for receipt of the Covid vaccine. I believe there is medical and public support for ensuring those awaiting a transplant are given the best chance of being Covid free when they are eventually called in.
“First Minister will you ask your advisors to urgently raise with the JCVI whether transplant patients should be prioritised for the Covid vaccine?”
In response, the First Minister said she would expect transplant patients to be prioritised by the JCVI and that the Cabinet Secretary for Health would investigate the matter.
“I certainly will consider this properly and if that requires us to engage more with the JCVI we will certainly do that,” she said.
“Firstly, I completely agree with the importance of promoting organ donation, it is the greatest gift that anyone can give and when I was health Secretary I spent a lot of time working with clinicians and others to raise awareness of and increase the rates of organ donation. I know it’s something that all Health Secretaries, who have come after me, have taken very seriously as well.
“The second point though is more pertinent to the specifics of the question. What are called the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ are a priority in the first JCVI list. I think it is Priority Four in the current JCVI list. I as a non-clinician would expect that many, if not all, transplant patients would be included within that but if I’m not correct about that, I will certainly, that’s the point I will discuss with advisors and whether we need to address that point in any other way. I’ll ask the Health Secretary to write to the Member once we’ve had an opportunity to consider it.”
Mr Mountain said he would postpone receiving his vaccine if it meant transplant patients did not miss out.
He added: “I welcome that the First Minister will consider this issue and I look forward to receiving an answer from the Health Secretary.
“I would be happy to wait slightly longer for my vaccine if it meant that a transplant patient did not miss out on an organ donation and I have written to the Cabinet Secretary on these terms.”