According to the Health Secretary, another wave of Covid-19 is expected to hit Scotland this winter. This prediction comes after recent statistics revealed an increase of 3.9% in the number of patients admitted to hospitals due to coronavirus in the previous week.
According to data provided by Public Health Scotland (PHS), there were an average of 875 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 during the week that ended on 16 October. This represents an increase from the previous week’s total of 842 patients. In the week that ended on Sunday 16, there were 12 new admissions to intensive care units with a laboratory-confirmed test of Covid-19. This is seven fewer than the previous week.
One million doses this winter and counting
In the most recent efforts to alleviate the strain placed on the National Health Service (NHS) during the winter, more than a million vaccines have been shipped out to protect against the most recent flu strains and Covid-19.
Since the rollout began in September, frontline healthcare staff as well as the most vulnerable citizens of the country have been quickly immunised, with 80.2% of all care home residents having received all their vaccinations. Those who are over the age of 65 and those who are considered to be at high risk have already been given an appointment to receive their vaccines, and those who are between the ages of 50 and 64 will soon be sent an invitation to schedule an appointment.
When possible, the Covid-19 vaccination is being administered at the same time as the seasonal flu shot; thus far, 94% of those who were invited have received both shots at the same appointment. Over two million people in Scotland are going to be offered both vaccines over the course of the next three months. Health Secretary Humza Yousaf stated:
“This impressive uptake is testament to the frontline staff who got us through the pandemic and continue to protect our population and NHS from the threats that winter brings. Scotland remains steadfast in the effort to protect everyone – continuing the huge success of the vaccination programme since it was first rolled out in December 2020. Covid-19 has not gone away and I call on everyone to take up the offer of a booster as soon as their invitation arrives to protect themselves, their families and the NHS.”
What happens when you go for the vaccine?
Many people haven’t yet had their first dose because they’re worried about the process, and that’s fine. I’ll do my best to explain my experience.
I had my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in December 2020, my second one in March 2021 and my third dose in September 2021. I had my fourth recently, along with a flu jab.
Now, first off, I’m 32 years old and relatively healthy, and have no underlying conditions, so I have no advice about anything other than my specific circumstances, and I wouldn’t be qualified to give that advice anyway. I am in a line of work that makes the vaccine a necessity and this is not medical advice, it’s an explanation as to how the process works.
The process is simple: most will be contacted and given an appointment place and time, but some others will have to log in and book an appointment like I did. It was straight forward; I entered my details and picked a location and time. I received a confirmation by text and email shortly after.
When the time came, I turned up at the vaccine centre, which is usually in use as a community centre, and confirmed my details. I didn’t have to show any ID and I was seated ready to get the jab very quickly. Once seated, the nurse asked me a few questions and then confirmed that I wanted the jabs. After receiving both, I sat for 15 minutes to make sure I was fine and then I headed home. That’s the entire process, it was nothing to stress about.
Misinformation fuelling doubts
I want to encourage people to speak to a medical professional if they have any doubts about getting the vaccine. Speak to your GP or nurse if you’re not sure, don’t rely on Facebook or other forms of social media to answer your questions.
One of the biggest threats this country faces is disinformation on Covid-19 and the vaccine against the disease. Every day there are thousands of tweets spreading scare stories about the vaccine that otherwise intelligent people take as gospel. The misinformation relating to the virus is so severe now that Twitter is placing a warning on Tweets that advance unsubstantiated rumours and disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines.
“We will enforce this policy in close consultation with local, national and global public health authorities around the world, and will strive to be iterative and transparent in our approach,” the company said in a statement.
The policy includes false claims that suggest immunisations and vaccines are used to intentionally cause harm to or control populations and statements about vaccines that invoke a deliberate conspiracy. “False claims which have been widely debunked about the adverse impacts or effects of receiving vaccinations or false claims that Covid-19 is not real or not serious, and therefore that vaccinations are unnecessary,”said the tech firm.
Facebook isn’t immune either, the firm has said that it has removed 20mn pieces of Covid-19 misinformation. However, although it didn’t offer data on how frequently vaccine misinformation is being shared, Facebook detailed signs of declining vaccine hesitancy in its community standards enforcement report. According to Forbes:
“Facebook cited a survey conducted in partnership with Carnegie-Mellon and the University of Maryland which it said found a positive change in attitude in many countries since the start of this year –including increases in vaccine acceptance by 35% in France, 25% in Indonesia and 20% in Nigeria.”
It is incredibly important to note that, despite the misinformation, the vaccines approved for use in the UK meet the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. That cannot be stressed enough. Any vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through.
The better protected the public is against misinformation, the better off Scotland is. It’s that simple.