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Health board ‘sorry’ for error in children’s coronavirus vaccine letters

NHS Lothian has apologised for an error in letters sent to some parents inviting their children to come for their Covid vaccine (Damien Storan/PA)
NHS Lothian has apologised for an error in letters sent to some parents inviting their children to come for their Covid vaccine (Damien Storan/PA)

Health chiefs have apologised for an error which saw the parents of some healthy children told their youngsters had an underlying condition in letters inviting them to come for the Covid vaccine.

NHS Lothian apologised for what it said was an “admin error” in letters sent to some families in Midlothian and West Lothian.

It comes as the coronavirus vaccination programme is being extended to cover youngsters aged between five and 11 across Scotland.

Katie Dee, deputy director of public health at NHS Lothian, said parents should still bring their children forward to be vaccinated – even if they had incorrectly been told they had an underlying health condition.

Ms Dee stated: “We are really sorry for this admin error and are writing to the affected parents to apologise for the confusion it may cause.

“We use two letter templates in Lothian to invite children – one for children who have underlying health conditions and one for children who do not.

“It appears that the wrong version may have been used when offering some appointments to children in Midlothian and West Lothian.”

She stressed however that appointments in the letters were still valid, telling parents: “All of the appointment information remains the same and they should turn up for the appointment that has been reserved for them.”

Ms Dee added: “The numbers of people testing positive for infection have increased rapidly across Scotland and vaccination is one of the best ways to protect ourselves and our children against the virus.”

But Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, and Edinburgh Western MSP, Alex Cole-Hamilton said the letters “would have been a cause for panic”.

He stated: “It’s important that this mess has been cleared up as swiftly as possible. Any errors which could disrupt the rollout of the vaccine, or hurt public trust in the NHS, must be swiftly stamped out.

“I have been bowled over by the hard work of NHS Lothian staff getting jabs into arms. The vaccine is still the most important tool we have to keep people safe from Covid-19.”

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