Weekly Poll – COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to our members on a topical issue. For the week beginning 15 February 2021, we asked a question about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Are you satisfied with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland so far?
- YES – 51% (85 respondents)
- NO – 49% (82 respondents)
We provide verbatim comments where appropriate to illustrate strength of feeling or personal experience.
Respondents recognised the importance of prioritising the vaccine for older adults, including residents in care homes and care home staff. However, a large proportion of respondents believed that disabled people who are at high-risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 should also have been prioritised to receive the vaccine sooner.
“My concern is that I am classified as vulnerable by everyone including my GP and still have not been offered a vaccine, which would be a game changer for me since I have not left the house since March 2020.”
“Since I have cerebral palsy and asthma, I should have a priority and been higher on the vaccination list, alongside the elderly. Two years ago, I had to be ventilated, so I certainly should be prioritised, even though I am in my 30s. Because of this, I haven’t left my house in almost a year to keep myself safe.”
“Staging of vaccination for the considered ‘high risk group’ should have been run in parallel with those in care homes, as they are at equal risk if not greater with their underlying at-risk health conditions.”
“Disabled people and in particular people with learning disabilities should have been vaccinated much sooner, especially considering the death rates.”
“I am reasonably pleased with the priority groups, but I do feel that even though I’m just over 50, I should be in one of the priority groups as I am totally blind, which means I have to be in close contact with people and can’t physical distance.”
Concerns were raised about the speed in which unpaid carers have been vaccinated, with some respondents highlighting the need for this group to receive the vaccine at the same time as the person they are caring for.
“I’m an unpaid carer, have been caring for someone who needs to shield and still don’t have a vaccination date. I am on my knees and exhausted and for me there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. Disabled people and unpaid carers have been totally forgotten about. Abandoned.”
“Unpaid carers have once again been overlooked even though they have provided lifelines services and filled the gaps when other services have been withdrawn. Unpaid carers have not stopped, and many provide care 24/7. No respite at all since March 2020.”
“My carer (unpaid) still hasn’t had her jag or a date to get it. This puts additional stress on us as she is the only one that provides my care and Self-Directed Support has been taken away since March 2020”
In some cases, there had been no joined-up approach between vaccinating a person in a high-risk category at the same time as the person providing care.
“I am in a priority group and got the vaccine fairly quickly, however because my carer lives with me, I asked if she could get her vaccine at the same time. She is only 64 so was not considered a priority.”
“My carer is still waiting on her vaccine even though I am in a high-risk group and have had mine. What is the point in that? My carer should have been vaccinated with me.”
There were calls for frontline workers, such as transport employees, retail staff and delivery drivers to be prioritised to receive the vaccine, due to the public-facing nature of these roles.
“Frontline workers such as police, bus drivers, retail staff (especially supermarkets), teachers, should have been given priority. They are working face to face with people they don’t know and some of them won’t be traced by Test and Protect.”
“Key frontline groups are not being vaccinated, for example, police and teachers who are in regular contact with vulnerable adults.”
“No real concerns, but if schools are going back maybe teachers and other school staff should be up on the priority list.”
“I feel that HGV drivers and other delivery drivers such as supermarket delivery drivers, parcel couriers and postal workers should be higher up the priority list as they are in contact with a large variety of people in homes and businesses and are covering a lot of areas.”
Some respondents believed there is a lack of information about the priority groups and the timescales involved for receiving the vaccine. It is also important to ensure that Information about the vaccine is shared using a variety of accessible channels and formats.
“A lot of disabled people don’t know which group they are in. They are also being missed out when it comes to getting information about the groups and the vaccine. I have various health problems and disabilities and have had no communication from health services or Scottish Government. I am at my wits end and feel as though I have been forgotten about”
“I’ve been contacted to say I can’t have the COVID-19 vaccination due to previous reactions to other vaccines but not given any information as to what this means. Seems to be quite unclear with it all and not enough communication, though I get this is unprecedented and so there will be teething problems.”
“I have concerns that my GP could not tell me what group I am in considering I have lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.”
“I’ve heard nothing but praise so far but no communications which makes me nervous as I would like advance information and time to process that.”
“There is far too much reliance on notifications by telephone, which means that those who don’t have a telephone are missing out on vaccination opportunities.”
In contrast, a number of respondents praised the information they had received and were satisfied with the overall process of the vaccine rollout.
“I was contacted, and an appointment was made at my local surgery. It went smoothly and was running on time. I was explained and told about the vaccine and given a pamphlet to take away with me. Well done to NHS for co-ordinating this process so professionally.”
“I received the vaccine sooner than I expected. I got a phone call asking if I could go to my local health centre for it. I asked when and got told as soon as I could. I was in my health centre 30 mins later getting my jag.”
“I was offered a vaccine appointment by telephone. No problems, very efficient. Paperwork received at GP Surgery, although I had already researched everything on Scottish Government’s website.”
“I am perfectly happy with the roll out of the vaccine. Got mine on Monday after receiving very clear precise and easy to follow instructions. No complaints at all.
Accessibility of Vaccination Centres
There was a varied response from respondents regarding the accessibility of the vaccination centres, which are taking place at GP surgeries, local vaccination clinics, community pharmacies, mobile vaccination units, mass vaccination centres and, where needed, in people’s homes. Some respondents praised the accessibility of their assigned vaccination centre and the helpfulness of staff, whilst others had experienced long queues and limited seating.
“Vaccination centre was excellent – well known in town, parking also excellent, all staff helpful with minimal delays and well organised for wheelchair access.”
“I think the programme is going well. My local GP surgery has been very efficient in communication and giving vaccines. Slick system. Access is good.”
“The vaccination centre was clearly signposted and very easy to use as staff guided you through each phase.”
“I arrived at SEC for my vaccination and there were very long queues outside the building in the freezing cold for people who were elderly and vulnerable.”
“When queuing for the vaccination, there were no chairs for those who could not stand or walk for long.”
Some respondents commented on the distance they had to travel to get to their assigned vaccination centre.
“In the area in which I live, we have been sent to a location which involves two bus journeys there and back. I am shielding, so the thought of travelling in public transport is quite frightening, especially since we have been advised not to do so.”
“I have had my vaccination, but it was hard as I had to travel over 15 miles to get there using public transport.”
“I have heard of people having to travel to centres outside of their postal code area.”
“In the Western Isles Fire Brigade and Coastguards have provided transport for people in rural areas to get to vaccination clinics. Is it possible for people with a vaccine invitation letter to get free public transport to get to their appointment and back home? Many disabled people may not have an Entitlement Card or have been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP).”
To conclude, there were mixed opinions from respondents regarding the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland so far. There were some concerns around the information that had been shared about the priority groups and the uncertainty of when people would receive the vaccine. Disabled people who are at high clinical risk from COVID-19 and unpaid carers questioned why they had not been prioritised to receive the vaccine sooner. In contrast, a number of respondents were happy with the information that had been shared and praised the overall process of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.