Our Policy Assistant, Anna Telfer, provides some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The national rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations is well underway, giving us hope that life will return to some form of normality soon.
However, the programme of vaccinations can be confusing at times, leaving many of us with even more questions.
Our Helpline and Information team have seen a rise in the number of enquiries about the COVID-19 vaccines, appointments and the priority groups.
To help keep you informed, we have provided some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Is epilepsy included in a priority group?
Yes! Epilepsy is included as an underlying health condition for those aged over 16 in priority group six.
Are the vaccines safe for people with epilepsy?
The Association of British Neurologists has advised all COVID-19 vaccines are safe for those with neurological conditions.
However, if you do have any concerns, get in touch with your epilepsy specialist nurse or neurologist.
When will I get my COVID-19 vaccine?
It depends. People in priority group six are currently being invited to be vaccinated, with people with epilepsy being included in this group.
Priority group six is the largest group so far, with over one million people. It will take time to get through this many people, and it is likely that it will not be completed before the end of April.
How will the authorities know that I am eligible to be included in priority group six?
Everyone living in Scotland has a Community Health Index (CHI) number which records the medical history of patients.
People in priority group six will be contacted by their health board, not their GP, for their vaccination appointment.
Why are other people getting their vaccines before me?
Every NHS health board area is working at a different pace. Every region will have different systems and varying numbers of eligible people to vaccinate.
This will influence how quickly they are able to offer the vaccines.
You should not compare yourself to people with the same or different conditions, or to people living in different health board regions. It is important to be patient.
What do I need to do to get my vaccine?
Nothing! NHS Scotland will be in touch with you to arrange your vaccination if you are eligible.
NHS Scotland are advising people not to contact their GP practice or NHS Health Board before then.
Why did my GP tell me I am not eligible for a vaccine when I am included in priority group six?
Priority group six vaccination is taking place via health boards and not GPs. You will receive your appointment letter from your health board, not your GP.
What should I do if I think I have been missed?
Vaccinating everyone in priority group six is a big undertaking, and efforts are only just getting started.
If you are in priority group six and have not received your vaccination appointment yet, it is very likely you have not been missed.
The majority of people in this group will have not yet received their appointment either. It is important to be patient.
If you think you should have been included in the previous vaccination groups but haven’t received an appointment, then you can find out how to query this on NHS inform.
How does it work for people aged 16-18?
People age 16-64 with underlying health conditions (including epilepsy) are included in priority group six.
As it currently stands, the AstraZeneca vaccine is only approved for those aged over 18. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for those aged 16 and over.
GPs do not have access to the Pfizer vaccine, so those aged 16-17 will therefore be invited to get the Pfizer vaccine by their health board and not through their GPs.
For the latest information and advice on COVID-19 in Scotland, please click here.
For more information about the vaccinations, please visit NHS Inform.
If you would like to talk about this further, get in touch: