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Coronavirus / Vaccination programme to enter next phase

CARE home residents who had their first Covid-19 vaccination at the end of last year are set to receive their second dose within the next two weeks, NHS Shetland confirmed this morning (Thursday).

Director of community health and social care Brian Chittick, who is leading the rollout of the vaccination programme, also said that planned mass vaccination centres at Lerwick’s Gilbertson Park and the Scalloway games hall could open before the target date of 1 March, depending on vaccine availability.

“So far the flow of vaccine to Shetland has been steady and we will now go into a phase of finding a balance between giving people their first vaccination and others their second,” Chittick said.

As more than 3,000 local people have had their dose so far, the health board will now start inviting people over 65 to come to Lerwick for vaccination as well as those who are “clinically extremely vulnerable”.

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

Over 50s will begin to receive vaccinations by mid-March with this cohort continuing into May, Chittick said.

“Those living on the Shetland mainland will be asked to come to Lerwick. We also ask that people take the appointment they are offered and come at the requested time,” he said.

“There is nowhere to wait, and, because of the Covid risk, we cannot have people sitting around.

“This is the biggest and fastest rollout of a vaccination programme ever undertaken and we need everyone to work together and keep flexible and to keep the programme moving.”

With the vaccination programme well underway, the question of whether this will become an annual event similar to the yearly programme of flu vaccination is being asked regularly.

When asked by Shetland News, NHS Shetland’s consultant in public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said: “We do not yet know if this will be an annual vaccination, but it is certainly a possibility. Or one or more booster doses may be required after a period of time.“

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