HELEN McArdle's recent article ("Flu vaccination shake-up is years in making – but coronavirus has complicated it", The Herald, October 14) does not reflect the reality of the situation. Instead, it was the Covid-19 pandemic which forced the rapid change in delivery of the flu vaccine this year.

GPs have been quick to recognise that the need for social distancing and the use of PPE meant delivering the flu vaccine in the same way it has been done in the past was simply not possible. Of course, the need to avoid crowded areas and queuing and the fact that small teams in GP practices are likely to see staff members suddenly having to self-isolate means that it is just neither practical nor possible to run the programme from out of GP surgeries.

It is correct that under the GP contract flu vaccination is to be delivered by Health and Social Care Partnerships by the winter of next year, 2021, but planning for that was at an early stage and it is instead Covid that dictated the plans in place for this year.

These changes have required an enormous effort by a large number of people within the health service, working alongside local authorities, all whilst dealing with Covid-19. To deliver these crucial vaccines, we needed an all-hands-on-deck approach, from all parts of the service. Inevitably, in such an unprecedented and challenging time, things have not always worked perfectly – but the approach is the right one and the significant learning from this programme will undoubtedly help inform the way in which we deliver the vaccine for Covid-19 when that becomes possible.

Dr Alan McDevitt CBE, Chair of Glasgow Local Medical Committee, Glasgow G4.

RE the correspondence around the flu jab situation (Letters, October 15), I share this experience with readers.

My brother and I attend the same GP practice and recently had phone calls on the same day asking if we wished to have the pneumococcal vaccine. Both of us agreed

Fast forward to September and we both had calls from the practice again asking if we wished the flu vaccine and again we agreed. In early October I received my appointment with about 10 days' notice of the event, and was received at St Mirren Park for the procedure. I phoned my brother on October 9 to inquire if he had had an appointment letter.

He replied that he had received his in the post on that day at 1pm and had to do a double-take at the appointment time – as it was for 10am that same day.

He tried to contact the helpline on more than a dozen times with no result to advise why he had not attended, found an email contact and sent a message of explanation. The email has not been acknowledged nor has he received a new appointment.

Allan Halliday, Paisley.

LIKE many others, I was exasperated when an afternoon was spent trying to get through to the telephone number provided by the "call to arms" (weak pun intended) circular delivered by mail.

I emitted an ironic "hurrumph" when, on eventually getting through, I was advised to contact my own GP practice.

When I did so I was allocated an appointed time to attend, and advised to wear a short-sleeved shirt.

Arriving at the practice at the appointed time, I was confronted at the entrance, and admitted on confirming that I had made an appointment. I was then directed to one of several “points (pun intended) of delivery”, where I was asked my date of birth and to confirm my name. I was further asked if I had had a flu jab before.

Deed done, I was directed to an exit at the rear of the premises.

Scarce more than two minutes had lapsed twixt entry and exit from the premises.

Patchy? Yes. Lessons to be learned? Yes: for example, improve telephone response capability if similar notification procedure is to be adopted; but Brooksby Medical Centre in Largs already knows what is required.

Eric Arbuckle, Largs.

REGARDING the recent articles and letters regarding a "flu jab shambles" which seems to vary by health board I'd just add one point.

It's like unemployment statistics of say four per cent but when you are unemployed you are 100% unemployed. So when you can get the jab it's all hunky dory but when you cannot it can be fairly catastrophic.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.