THE MAJORITY of care homes in Scotland have been targeted by anti-vaccination groups over the past two days, Scottish Care has warned. 

The organisation has said that it is "deeply concerned" by what appears to be a "concerted campaign to convince care home managers and staff not to receive the Covid-19 vaccination."

They say care homes across the country have received unsolicited mail from a campaign group which has denied the validity of the vaccines - as well as the existence and prevalence of coronavirus itself.

CEO of Scottish Care, Dr Donald Macaskill called it "wholly despicable".

He said: “I am appalled that care home managers and staff are being targeted by anti-vaccination groups.

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"To be at the receiving end of such a coordinated campaign at a time when many homes are struggling with live Covid-19 outbreaks is wholly despicable."

The organisation also claims there has been targeted campaign on social media to create "uncertainty and fear" amongst social care staff.

The organisation has reiterated its position on vaccination in care homes, saying it will continue to advocate that all residents and frontline nursing and care staff receive the vaccine.

Dr Macaskill added: "We all want an end to the helplessness we have been feeling in care homes. We all want to see families reconnected with residents. We all want a restoration of normality.

"Vaccination is the hope which offers us the potential of achieving all this and anything that insidiously tries to spread mis-information and falsehood, to create fear and anxiety prevents us all from the protection we need to provide for our residents and staff.”

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Correspondence received by care homes includes the claim that the vaccine is "entirely experimental", with "many unanswered questions" regarding safety.

The Scottish Government has urged everyone to get any information regarding vaccines from trusted sources.

A spokesperson said: “The vaccines are safe, approved by regulators, and we encourage all those in care homes and elsewhere to get theirs once offered.

"Anti-vaccination groups pose a real and present threat to the fight against this pandemic and we urge everyone to make sure they are getting their information from trusted sources when they are offered the vaccine.

“We are studying uptake and working closely with Scottish Care to look at how we can help encourage even more social care staff to accept the vaccine and help them make a really informed decision both for them and the people they provide care for.

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"The Chief Medical Officer, Chief Nursing Officer, National Clinical Director and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer will be writing to care home managers to provide further information on the high vaccine efficacy, excellent safety profile and the need to help staff and residents make informed decisions.

"Our view on the importance of vaccination is shared by far and away most people in Scotland and we have some of the highest uptake rates in Europe for our national programmes.

“However, no-one will be compelled to take the vaccine, it remains voluntary, as it does for everyone.”

It comes as a total of 3,331 people in Scotland have received a second dose of their Covid-19 vaccination, 141 more than the 3,190 announced on Wednesday.

The health secretary Jeane Freeman told Friday's daily briefing a total of 224,840 people in Scotland had received their first dose by Thursday.

The Public Health Scotland statistics indicate an increase of 16,633 on the 208,207 vaccinated with their first dose 24 hours previously.