More than 900 NHS staff in Ayrshire have not been vaccinated against Covid. 

A total of 9,635 staff have been vaccinated out of 11,170, which is equivalent to 86 per cent.

Only three workers didn’t receive the non-mandatory jag it due to medical reasons.

The information was released on March 31 following a freedom of information (FOI) request.   

NHS Scotland strongly recommend people get the vaccine.

The health board said there is a “high uptake”among its employees and said 93.7 per cent of those “eligible” have accepted it. 

Conservative Councillor Hugh Hunter, 75, who received his second jab on Thursday (April 22) at Ayr’s Citadel, said: “It is very encouraging that 93.7 per cent of staff members offered the vaccine have taken it up. I would encourage the remaining six per cent who didn’t to reconsider their position.“

The grandfather, who sits on the South Ayrshire Integration Joint Board, which monitors health, added: “I had absolutely no hesitation in getting the vaccination. I was most relieved and feel much safer.“

Unison union representative and heath board employee Kevin McGregor said: “I have had both of my shots. I would say people should be confident in the vaccine.”

The Scottish Labour and Co-operative Party Holyrood candidate for Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley added: “If they are offered it I would advise them to get it done. I understand some people may be nervous but the facts speak for themselves.”

Despite being asked through freedom of information, the health board did not release how many staff refused the vaccine.

Unite the Union has praised the approach of NHS Ayrshire and Arran in “providing vaccinations for all of their workers” unlike other health boards. 

It wants every NHS worker vaccinated no matter what their role.

But when asked whether all staff had been offered the vaccine locally an NHS Ayrshire & Arran director said it has only invited eligible staff to be vaccinated in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance.

Among the general public 200,000 people have now received at least one shot of the vaccine in Ayrshire – more than half the region’s population. 

East Ayrshire Council leader Douglas Reid, SNP, who sits on the NHS board said: “NHS staff in Ayrshire and Arran are doing a fantastic job in rolling out the vaccine. As well as everyone over 50 having being offered the vaccine here, over 40 per cent of people in their forties have already been vaccinated, as well as more that one third of people in their thirties.”

Sarah Leslie HR Director at the health board said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran began vaccinating staff on December 8, 2020 and the staff vaccination programme is progressing very well. There has been a high uptake, with 93.7 per cent of those eligible taking up the offer.

“While we encourage our staff to have the COVID-19 vaccine when offered, as the best protection for themselves, their patients and their families against the negative effects of the virus, vaccination is not mandatory.

“There could be a number of reasons for not being vaccinated so far, including having a non-frontline role, being pregnant, having had COVID-19 recently or requiring to self-isolate as a close contact at the time of appointment, as you must wait 28 days to be vaccinated if this is the case.

“NHS Ayrshire & Arran continues to offer appointments to staff in line with prioritisation set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) nationally, as well as deliver second doses to staff within the 12 week dosing schedule recommended.”

Staff vaccination totals at NHS Ayrshire & Arran released by health board on March 31:

Total number of staff – 11,170

Total number of staff vaccinated – 9,635

Total number of staff not vaccinated –  901

Percentage of staff vaccinated based on above numbers: 86 per cent

Total number of staff with vaccination status unknown: 634