THE number of people in hospital with Covid has doubled over the past two weeks in the Glasgow region amid a spike in cases believed be driven by the Indian variant.

The latest data shows that there were 33 patients in hospitals across Greater Glasgow and Clyde who had tested positive for Covid within the past 28 days, up from 15 on May 4 and 21 as recently as Sunday.

HeraldScotland: The Greater Glasgow and Clyde region is the only health board to have seen a notable increase in patient numbers compared to the beginning of MayThe Greater Glasgow and Clyde region is the only health board to have seen a notable increase in patient numbers compared to the beginning of May

It is impossible to tell from the figures whether the patients were infected and then fell ill while in the community, or if they were admitted for another reason before picking up the virus in hospital.

READ MORE: Polling expert's anger over 'impossible' Covid vaccine helpline 

It was reported on Saturday that there were six vaccinated patients in hospital in Scotland with infections caused by the B1.617.2 strain of Covid which scientists believe to be around 50 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant Kent variant.

One of the patients was said to have had both vaccine doses, with the rest having had one dose.

There is no clear evidence that the Indian variant causes more severe disease or can "escape" the vaccines, however.

A recent UK study found that one in 14 people admitted to hospital for Covid between December 8 and March 10 - when the Kent strain was prevalent - had had their first vaccine dose, but in most cases had caught the virus prior to inoculation or in the two weeks immediately afterwards before antibodies had peaked.

The latest hospital figures came as Scotland's national clinical director stressed the importance of finding those in Glasgow who had skipped their first vaccine appointment.

READ MORE: Tougher lockdown decision due within days for East Renfrewshire and Midlothian

Professor Jason Leitch said that even though this was only around 10% per cent to 15% of the population, it was still a "significant number of people".

Prof Leitch said: "The ones most likely to get seriously unwell are the percentage difference between 100 and those we managed to vaccinate in that older age group.

"It's somewhere between 10-15%. In some places it's only 5%.

"But 5% of a big number is a big number. So it's still a significant number of people that we really want to get vaccinated."

He urged people who had missed either a first or second dose to come forward, saying "we'd love to give you that full protection".

Public health teams in Glasgow are also offering vaccinations to people aged 18 to 39 in the city who are living in postcodes such as Pollokshields and Govanhill where cases of the virus have been surging, and are accelerating second doses to people in these hotspots.

Higher rates of vaccine hesitancy among some ethnic minorities and more deprived communities are believed to have helped the virus to spread more rapidly in the south of Glasgow.

READ MORE: Injury lawyer says some employers treated Covid like 'unavoidable occupational hazard'

A Public Health Scotland report from April 28 revealed that the uptake of the vaccine ranged from 83% to 88%, depending on age group, among Scots Asians aged 50 to 80-plus.

HeraldScotland:

Among Africans aged 60 to 64 in Scotland it was as low as 68%, compared to 90-97% among the white over-50s population.

Those living in the poorest tenth of postcodes in Scotland were also consistently less likely to have been vaccinated compared to the most affluent, with differences in uptake of almost 10% in some age groups.

HeraldScotland:

There was some evidence that the outbreak in Pollokshields West could be cooling though, with the case rate dipping from 16 cases per 1000 residents to 14 per 1000.

The overall rate for Glagow City has continued to climb however, reaching 104.6 per 100,000, with East Renfrewshire at 94.2.

Prof Leitch said the First Minister and her new cabinet would take a decision later this week on whether to escalate East Renfrewshire to Level Three.

HeraldScotland: The Merrylee and Braidbar area of East Renfrewshire is recording case rates of nearly 411 per 100,000The Merrylee and Braidbar area of East Renfrewshire is recording case rates of nearly 411 per 100,000

He also apologised to Professor Sir John Curtice after the 67-year-old academic spoke of his three-week struggle to chase a missing vaccine appointment using the national Covid helpline.

The polling expert, who had been due his second jag by April 30, was finally vaccinated today after the Herald intervened.

Prof Leitch said he was "sorry" to hear of Sir John's experience but insisted there was "no difference clinically" between a 12-week and 14-week wait.

He said: "I don't think it's fair to say the helpline is not working. I think it's fair to say there are some people for whom the helpline isn't working as quickly as it should and we're trying to correct that as much as we can."

Meanwhile, in Moray there is "cautious optimism" as case rates continued to fall towards the 50 per 100,000 threshold for Level Two. 

Chris Littlejohn, deputy director of public health praised the "really impressive" response of younger residents after vaccinations were accelerated.  

He said: “Around 50% of those 18-29 in the area, and around 60% of the 30-49 age group, have now had their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination.

"This reflects not only the willingness of people to come forward for vaccination, but also the very hard work of the local team. Praise must go to both groups for their efforts.

"In addition, the number of people seeking testing, either at community sites offering asymptomatic testing using Lateral Flow Devices, or at the Mobile Testing Units based in Elgin, Keith, and Aberlour is truly impressive. 

“I believe there is now cause for some cautious optimism in Moray.”