A former Western Isles couple unable to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Greece have warned “people’s lives are at risk” as a local MSP has stepped in to offer his assistance.
Alison and Drew Frizzell have been caught up in a red tape nightmare trying to get the Covid jabs they would have already received had they remained in Scotland.
They have now been offered assistance from member of the Scottish Parliament for the Western Isles, Alasdair Allan, who said he was “happy to be of any help”.
The couple moved to the island of Crete from the Isle of Lewis in November, and have been unable to obtain a Greek social security number – called an AMKA – which would allow get them on the country’s vaccination list.
It was feared they could be vulnerable to Covid as Greece opens up to tourism on May 15.
Mr Allan said: “If Mr and Mrs Frizzell wish to contact me I am very happy to be any help I can.
“While the provision of health services to residents in Greece is a matter for the Greek government, I am happy to be of any help in seeking out any consular assistance they may need, as I can appreciate this is an anxious situation for them.”
It is understood Mrs Frizzell, who has written to a number of UK Government agencies, has been informed by the Greek Government she could be in receipt of a social security number in the coming days.
However, Mr Frizzell has been left in limbo as tourists are set to arrive.
They have now called for the UK Government to “step in” and help the thousands of others the same situation.
Mrs Frizzell said: “I have written to the British Embassy who weren’t interested and didn’t acknowledge there was a problem, they just told us to be patient – and the Foreign Office didn’t respond at any point.
“What we need is the UK Government to be contacting the Greek Government on our behalf and saying this is totally unacceptable – there is a withdrawal agreement in place to protect our rights and people’s lives are at stake.
“The priority should be to get us many of us vaccinated as soon as possible and that shouldn’t be dependent on waiting over four months for a social security number when we have every other legal paperwork we should have.
“So many people are still in this situation, including my husband.”
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said: “We provided support to a British couple seeking to register for a Covid-19 vaccine in Greece, including giving them contact details for the relevant Greek authorities.
“We have raised the issues facing British people registering for a vaccine without social security numbers directly with the Greek authorities, who are working urgently to implement a solution.”