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Coronavirus / First mass vaccination centre prepares to open

People will be offered appointments for vaccination at the Independent Living Centre by phone

The newly opened independent living centre that is not quite open yet. Photo Austin Taylor
The independent living centre in Lerwick. Photo Austin Taylor

THE FIRST Covid-19 vaccinations for the next priority groups will be administered at the mass vaccination centre in the Independent Living Centre in Lerwick on Monday (1 February).

The vaccination programme will then gradually be ramped up with the hope that, with a steady supply of vaccine, the centre will be able to run 12 hours a day (8am-8pm), seven days a week by the end of February.

By 1 March, two further vaccination centres will be opened – at the Gilbertson Park games hall and at the Scalloway games hall.

Brian Chittick, who is leading the vaccination rollout for NHS Shetland and the Health and Social Care Partnership, reiterated that the pace of the rollout depends on vaccine supply.

“For that reason, the model we have developed is flexible and can be expanded and accelerated as and when we have the vaccine available,” he said.

Director of community health and social care Brian Chittick. Photo: Shetland News

Mr Chittick appealed to the community to be patient, but also to be willing to come along for vaccination at quite short notice.

He explained that the Independent Living Centre at Gremista, along the road from the college, already had clinical areas so there had been less adaptation required to set up the five pods or stations where vaccinators would be working.

“The vaccination centres will not provide a walk-in service,” Chittick said.

“You will receive your appointment by telephone and we ask that you accept what is offered if you can.

“On the day, you should arrive just before your allocated time where marshals will be on hand to show you where to park and then where to go inside.

“Individuals will be guided through to their vaccination area, be vaccinated and then you will be required to stay for 15 minutes following your vaccination prior to leaving to go home. The whole process will take about 30 minutes.”

NHS Shetland chief nurse (community) Edna Mary Watson, who is also overseeing the first vaccination centre, said the programme was being rolled out in line with the Scottish Government guidance, based on the recommendations for priority groups provided by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

These priority groups are predominantly based on age and pre-existing clinical conditions.

Chittick said anyone with Covid-19 symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste and/or smell) or anyone who had been diagnosed with Covid in the four weeks prior to receiving an invitation to come for a vaccination, should not attend their appointment but reschedule for a later date.