Coronavirus / Mass vaccination gets underway

People on Shetland’s outer isles will also start receiving vaccinations soon

Almost 94 per cent of adults in Shetland have had their first dose while 89.2 percent are fully vaccinated.Photo: Shetland News

VACCINATION of people in Shetland aged between 70 to 79 got underway on Monday morning at the Independent Living Centre (ILC) in Lerwick.

NHS Shetland hopes to eventually be able to vaccinate as many as 600 people per week at the ILC.

Those who were shielding last year are also being called in for their first doses.

People belonging to the priority groups four, five and six (those in the 65 to 69 age bracket, as well as aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers) are expected to receive appointments for vaccination from the middle of the month.

And after receiving special permission from the Scottish Government, NHS Shetland will this week vaccinate everyone over the age of 18 on the smaller ‘non-doctor islands’ of Fair Isle, Foula, Fetlar and Skerries, starting with Fair Isle today (Monday).

However, the speed of the vaccination rollout depends on whether NHS Shetland will receive a steady supply of the Pfizer vaccine.

Harold Massie: ‘Accepting the vaccine is absolutely essential.’

One of the first to receive his first Pfizer jab on Monday morning was Harold Massie, who urged his fellow islanders to rally behind the NHS and accept the invitation to get vaccinated as soon as it is their turn, adding that it was the only way “to free ourselves from this virus.”

He said: “Accepting the vaccine is absolutely essential; it is really the only way to defeat this virus.

“All these wonderful people here at the NHS have done so much good work, we had the scientists giving us the vaccine, and us, the public, it is now our responsibility get vaccinated to protect everybody else.”

NHS Shetland chief nurse Edna Mary Watson said the uptake of the vaccine among the 80 and above age group has been at around 94 per cent.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


She said vaccination was taking place by appointment only. There is no ‘walk-in’ service available, and people will be offered appointments by telephone.

Explaining how the system works she said: “These are mass clinics where there will be patients from all the different practices from mainland Shetland be invited to attend an appointment.

“Your invitation will come from you local practice, they will contact you by phone, probably at quite short notice, and offer you a timed appointment at the Independent Living Centre.

“It is really important that you come here on time because there will be quite a few people at this one venue and we want to make it flow smoothly for everybody and of course maintaining social distancing rules etc.”

Andrew Barclay is also receiving his first vaccine dose.

She added: “For the patients on the outer isles in terms of Yell, Unst and Whalsay, a lot of the patients there in the older age groups will receive their vaccine at the local practice or somewhere on the island rather than coming to Lerwick.”

Acknowledging the well-publicised supply issues of the various vaccines, the health board’s chief nurse added that people could expect to be invited for their second dose of the vaccine around nine to ten weeks after having received the first jab.

This approach would give NHS Shetland a degree of flexibility in ensuring that everybody will receive the second dose within the 12-week limit, she said.

Two further vaccination centres are due to be opened at the Gilbertson Park games hall and the Scalloway games hall by the 1 March.

At the end of last week Shetland Islands Council announced that a shuttle bus service would running between the Viking bus station and the Independent Living Centre at Gremista to allow people to attend the clinic.

Anyone using public transport to attend a mass vaccination centre will also be able to travel for free.

Nurse Lorraine Smyth preparing the next dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.