An elderly woman from the Scottish Highlands who doesn't drive was told to travel 200 miles for a Covid vaccination.

Kate Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said she was aware of a small number of instances where people had been offered booster vaccination slots in "unsuitable locations".

She said constituents in Dingwall were given appointments in Fort William, over 72 miles away.

Another woman, in her late seventies, from the village of Spean Bridge in Lochaber, was offered an appointment in Caithness, more than 100 miles away.

She told The Herald: "As a pensioner who doesn't drive, it's very stressful and will mean having to try and reschedule to a much nearer venue.

"I'm sure there are appointment slots much closer to home."

Her MSP said no one should have to travel four hours each way for a vaccination and said she would be happy to raise the concerns of any constituents with NHS Highland.

This is the first winter where responsibility for all vaccinations – from routine childhood immunisations to flu and shingles jags for the elderly to travel vaccines – has fully transferred from general practice to health boards.

Vaccinations are being brought forward for those at highest risk from Covid as a "precautionary measure" following the identification of a highly mutated new variant in Scotland.

The BA.2.86 strain - described as the "most concerning" since Omicron - was detected as a result of genomic sequencing from a PCR sample collected on August 16.

Although BA.2.86 is not yet considered a variant of concern, NHS officials said it is the most concerning new strain since Omicron first emerged.

READ MORE: Vaccinations brought forward for those most at risk from Covid 

In Scotland, everyone over 50 is being offered a flu jag on the NHS but Covid boosters are limited to the over-65s and those with a specific health condition considered to put them at higher risk.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “I am aware of a small number of instances where Highlanders have been offered vaccination appointments in completely unsuitable locations.

“I have had people near Dingwall being offered slots in Fort William, and obviously someone in Spean Bridge should not have to go to Caithness for an appointment, so something has clearly gone wrong somewhere.

The Herald:

“Whilst NHS Highland covers a huge geographical area, nobody should have to travel four hours each way for a Covid vaccination.

“I would urge those being asked to travel significant distances to check with the vaccination helpline first. I would also be happy to raise any individual queries of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituents with NHS Highland.”

READ MORE: Number of people in hospital with Covid doubles 

NHS Highland apologised after a power cut led to the closure of the Inverness Vaccination Centre in the Eastgate Centre, which had an impact on those with vaccination appointments.

Two vaccines will be administered to 65 to 74-year-olds with no underlying health conditions and 5 to 64-year-olds with an 'at risk' health condition who will be contacted by NHS Scotland to make an appointment.

People aged over 75 and those with a weakened immune system will be given an appointment.

Flu vaccinations are being offered to those over 50 and people under that age who are at risk of complications from the virus.

It comes after the latest figures showed the number of people in hospital with Covid has continued to rise as new figures show that five cases of  'Pirola' strain have now been detected in Scotland.

The latest statistics from Public Health Scotland show that there were 420 patients in hospital in Scotland as of September 10 who had tested positive for the infection.

This has risen steadily from 66 on July 1, and 210 on August 10.

The Herald has contacted NHS Highland for comment.