A raging Scots nurse has revealed her worry about infecting her high-risk son with coronavirus after she was “denied” the vaccine.
She has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic covering staff shortages, but explained neither she nor her colleagues have been offered the jab.
The 35-year-old says that since she does not have an NHS email, she cannot book a vaccine slot despite working on the frontline.
Speaking to Edinburgh Live , Alyson said: “I usually work shifts at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Spire Murrayfield Hospital.
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“When one of the NHS facilities is short of staff and they can’t find any nurses on the banks, they will contact agencies to cover the shifts, and it’s been especially important during the pandemic because lots of staff have been off with the virus, we’ve even been covering in intensive care.”
The mum-of-two trained in London as a nurse before moving to the capital in August 2019, just months before the pandemic hit the UK.
Explaining how the vaccine appointment system works for frontline staff, she said: “You do it online and you need to have an NHS email in order to book your vaccine but I don’t have one of those because I work for a private company.
“On the NHS Lothian website, it says staff like us are eligible for the vaccine but the system doesn’t allow us those appointments. They say our manager should be able to do it but has been told ‘no’.
“When they contacted NHS Lothian management they weren’t given any straight answers or pathways to make vaccine appointments for us. We’ve not been given a reason or explanation, they just said they’d get back to us when they have more information.”
Alyson fears she may contract the virus and bring it home to her family, including her vulnerable nine-year-old son who suffers from asthma.
She continued: “I’ve been trying to give it the benefit of the doubt because there are a lot of people to vaccinated and the system is new, so there’s going to be some kinks but, at this point, it’s really getting on and it’s not right that management at my agency is not getting anywhere.
“The longer time goes on the more likely I will be exposed to the virus at some point.”
Alyson is furious at the health board who she believes is putting agency staff and even potentially patients at “unnecessary risk”, adding that their company has also only recently been given the same access to lateral flow tests as NHS staff.
She said: “Now that we have the vaccine there should be some recourse for me as a nurse but I’m not getting it and I feel pressure to apply for a job within the NHS simply so I can get access to the vaccine but it’s hard, I work for an agency because I have small children. I need that control over my schedule.
“There’s not been any support even though we’re also affected. I don’t feel safe going into work and I think that’s been made stronger since the vaccine because I do not ask unnecessary risk.”
After contacting several politicians, MSP Ruth Davidson responded to Alyson. While she apologised for the situation, she was unable to offer a solution, other than to suggest she filed a form with NHS Inform for missed appointments – which Alyson had already filled in.