NHS Borders has said it "underestimated" demand for flu vaccination programme after thousands of calls and emails

NHS Borders received over 60,000 calls in three days

NHS Borders said it received over sixty thousand calls and four thousand emails in three days, after letters were sent out to those eligible for a flu jab.The health board admitted it "underestimated" the demand there would be.Appointments for this year's flu vaccination programme need to be pre-booked and will be provided in different locations.

The health board said that the response to book an appointment on immediate receipt of a letter "has placed exceptional demand" on their new vaccination booking line. It received over 60,000 call attempts and 4000 emails over the past three days.

“I fully understand why people are frustrated about not being able to get through to our booking line," said Ralph Roberts, Chief Executive of NHS Borders."I apologise for the delays that many of you are experiencing and any inconvenience and worry this is causing.

"We recognise, in hindsight, that we could have been better prepared and we are making every effort to expand our booking capacity and learning from what is a new experience for us all.

“I can assure that our team are working incredibly hard and we will ensure that everyone does get an appointment so that you receive your flu vaccination over the next few months."

NHS Borders says it "underestimated" demand for flu jab

A statement from the health board read: "We ask that if you cannot immediately get through to the vaccination booking team that you do not immediately redial but that you ring again at a later time or on a different day.

"If you have emailed us please wait until a member of our team contacts you. Please do not re-email us."

In Scotland, vaccines are procured nationally by the NHS for those in eligible groups. That has been extended this year because of the pandemic, and the added risk of coronavirus.

In addition to over 65s, health workers, and those with medical conditions; social care workers, families of shielders and over 55s will be offered the jab this year.

Vaccinations in the Borders will start to be administered on 1 October. There are available appointments for vaccinations through the whole of October and November.