Scottish government must honour second vaccination dates or risk wasting thousands of vaccination slots, says UNISON

UNISON Scotland has today (Tuesday) called on the Scottish Government to honour scheduled dates for staff to receive their second dose COVID vaccination or risk thousands of vaccination slots being wasted across the country.

The change in the Scottish Government’s policy means health boards have been instructed not to administer the scheduled second dose vaccination and instead re-book other staff for a first dose vaccination in their place.

The announcement, which was made on 31 December, comes into effect today.

Tom Waterson, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “This week, in NHS Lothian alone, there are 5,500 staff booked in for their second dose vaccination. It is unrealistic to think these slots can be cancelled and re-booked with just a few days’ notice and there is a very real risk that thousands of these vaccination slots will be wasted.

“This flies in the face of the Scottish Government’s plans to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“The Scottish Government needs to honour the agreed dates for the second dose vaccinations to prevent both wastage and any undue stress on already under-pressure health and social care staff.”

Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland head of health, said: “There was no consultation with trade unions on this policy change and it is not supported by clear evidence from Pfizer which will seriously diminish the trust and confidence of staff who had consented to the two doses.

“There is also widespread confusion, inconvenience of rescheduling and, more importantly, a serious risk that doses of the vaccine may need to be destroyed due to lack of time to make new appointments for first doses for other staff.

“It is vital the Scottish Government sees sense and commits to the scheduled second dose vaccination dates.”


For further information:

Tom Waterson, chair of health committee: 07753 627 575
Willie Duffy, UNISON Scotland’s head of health: 07904 342 129
Trisha Hamilton, communications officer: 07943 507 307