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Coronavirus / Health board may have to adjust vaccine rollout if supply slows down

NHS Shetland has confirmed that it is still receiving both Covid-19 vaccines despite the widely reported delays in the UK taking delivery of five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from India.

The health board told Shetland News this morning (Thursday) that rolling out the local vaccination programme to people under the age of 50 may have to be delayed, although a decision on this option has not been taken yet.

Meanwhile first minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland will receive 500,000 fewer vaccine doses over the next four weeks, and also said that there may be a need to prioritise second doses.

Shetland is well ahead with the vaccine rollout. As of Wednesday, more that 63 per cent of the adult population have had their first dose, while 7.3 per cent of islanders have had both doses of the vaccine, including all care home residents who could have two doses.

NHS Shetland consultant for public health Dr Susan Laidlaw.

Consultant for public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said the programme of giving first doses to everybody in the priority groups one to nine should be completed within the next ten days.

That is everybody aged 50 and over as well as people assessed as clinically vulnerable, unpaid carers and those working at the frontline of health and social care.

“We are getting AstraZeneca vaccines coming in on a weekly basis for the first doses, but the quantity varies week to week and sometimes the quantity is different to what we have been advised on forward planning – sometimes more and sometimes less,” Dr Laidlaw said.

“We flex our plans to deal with this fluctuation. We have had supply of Pfizer for second doses and will be getting more.

63.2 per cent of the adult population in Shetland have had their first dose of Covid vaccine, the second highest number in Scotland. Image: Public Health Scotland

“We are ahead of the government deadline for vaccinating people in groups 1-9. Once we have completed these priority groups, we would intend to move to the next age group of 40-49 and call in any people in that group who have not yet been vaccinated.

“However, if supply of Astra Zeneca slows then ensuring second doses are given by 12 weeks will probably be the priority and we will have to follow any national guidance or instruction regarding this.

“In that case, appointments for the under 50s first doses will be shifted to later on.”

Dr Laidlaw used the opportunity to remind people in priority groups one to nine who have not been contacted by NHS Shetland for an appointment by next week to call the health board on 01595 743319.

She added: “But there is no need to make repeated calls and please do not call yet if you are under 50 and not in any risk group.”

More details on who is being offered the vaccine and when can be found on the NHS inform page.

NHS Shetland’s own Covid-19 information site is here.