Jeane Freeman responds to BBC criticism on unpaid Scottish carers and vaccine priority list

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has denied a BBC Scotland The Nine report that unpaid carers have been removed from the vaccine priority list.

Jeane Freeman responded to a BBC Scotland The Nine report that unpaid carers have been removed from vaccine priority list, saying ‘unpaid carers have not been removed’ and that she’s ‘already made that clear.’
Jeane Freeman responded to a BBC Scotland The Nine report that unpaid carers have been removed from vaccine priority list, saying ‘unpaid carers have not been removed’ and that she’s ‘already made that clear.’

Ms Freeman confirmed last night that “unpaid carers have not been removed” and that she’s “already made that clear”.

Her response came after The Nine reported that “it is now unknown” when unpaid carers will get the jab.

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The Nine reported that a Scottish Government document sent to an unpaid carer, they claimed, “clearly states” that “unpaid carers will not be prioritised”.

However, Ms Freeman responded to the report via Twitter, posting: “Unpaid carers have not been removed. They are in the group alongside those with underlying health conditions - as is the case with the flu vaccine. A very important group of people. I’ve already made that clear, but happy to do so again.”

She added: “Dear @BBCScotNine, unpaid carers will be vaccinated in Scotland. They will be alongside the group with underlying health conditions. We can’t give a definite date for this important group of people because exact dates depend on supplies of vaccine arriving.”

Ms Freeman said carers would be identified via “a number of routes” such as GPs, but also through national and local carer organisations and through social media and the government’s public information campaign.

BBC has stood by their report on their Scottish programme, saying that it demonstrated the lack of clarity some carers felt with regards to their priority position on receiving the vaccine.

A BBC spokesperson said: “We stand by the story we broadcast on last night's Nine.

"It explained how some unpaid carers were concerned by what they saw as ambiguity over their position in the vaccine priority list.

"Jeane Freeman contacted us on social media to provide an update on the Scottish Government's position, and we were happy to include all of that immediately after Hope Webb's film.”

Yesterday morning on BBC Scotland, National Clinical Director Jason Leitch told the BBC the government was still “looking at where unpaid carers will be in the overall prioritisation”.

The news follows the Health Secretary’s announcement last month that Scotland’s 80,000 unpaid carers would be included in the first wave of coronavirus vaccinations between December and February.

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