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COVID BOOSTERS: NHS Highland has said it is extending third vaccination to everyone over the age of 40 with clinics in Inverness, Aviemore and Fort William

By Louise Glen

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People over the age of 40 are being encouraged to apply for a Covid booster by using the NHS Scotland online portal.

In light of a new variant of the virus, people are being encouraged to have a third dose of the vaccination as soon as possible at a drop in clinic, or by appointment.

Today first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that nine people in Scotland had the new Omicron strain of Covid-19, urging people to get a booster vaccination to give them the best possible protection.

A spokeswoman for NHS Highland said: "NHS Highland’s Covid booster programme is progressing.

"More than 83 per cent of people over the age of 70 have now had their booster.

"The programme has now been extended to include people in their 40s.

"People registered at GP Practices on Coll, Colonsay, Jura, Tiree, Bute, Eigg, Rum,Muck, Canna and the three practices on Islay will be contacted by their GP and offered an appointment. "Everyone else should book an appointment on the national online portal.

"People who do not book via the portal will be contacted after January and offered an appointment.

"New clinics are added to the portal regularly, including in Argyll and Bute, so please check back if you cannot find anything suitable straight away. Over 50s will continue to receive appointments for either a board or HSCP-run clinic or from their GP. They can also choose to attend a drop-in or book on the portal."

She added: "We are aware of recent JCVI advice on boosters for people under 40 and a shorter period between second doses and boosters. We are making plans to deliver this

while awaiting instruction from Scottish Government."

A message on the vaccination portal currently reads: “If you live in NHS Highland, NHS Western Isles, NHS Shetland or NHS Orkney local health board areas, you will not need to book an appointment online as local arrangements are in place. Check your local health board's website or social media for more information."

When you ignore this, and click through to the appointment's page four locations Inverness, Aviemore, Fort William and Dunoon already appear in the options available to people living in the Highlands.

READ: NHS Highland musculoskeletal (MSK) physio service in Inverness to temporarily take up a retail unit in the Eastgate Shopping Centre

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