Highlands and Islands MSP seeks clarity on how individuals at high risk from COVID will be supported as restrictions ease

Emma Roddick MSP asked the First Minister today how the most vulnerable to COVID in our society will be supported following the move to level 0, highlighting specifically those with blood cancers whose treatment may affect the vaccine’s effectiveness. She asked:

“Given that Blood Cancer UK has instructed that the vaccine may have lower efficacy in people with blood cancers – who were instructed to shield last year – what extra support and guidance will the Scottish Government provide for those in this high risk group as we move to Level 0 while the vaccination programme continues and case numbers remain high?”

The First Minister acknowledged the importance of this issue and went on to cover the protocols in place to protect these individuals. Knowing that some blood cancer treatment can affect the Covid vaccine, these individuals are having their second doses brought forward until 2 or 3 weeks after their first dose to increase the level of protection.

The First Minister said:

“While it is the case that immunosuppressive therapies might reduce the effectiveness of COVID vaccines, it is recommended that patients with blood cancer should still look at receiving one.

“As we unlock society, we will inevitably see a rise in cases, so guidance for those on the shielding list will be provided and we will continue to update that guidance as needed.”  

She went on to insist that “no one will be abandoned” as the restrictions ease.

Ms. Roddick was pleased to hear that the Scottish Government will be providing further support to this group of individuals and also the First Minister’s insistence that a balanced approach will be taken going forward to ensure maximum protection for everyone in Scotland.