SIC - Orkney & Shetland valuation joint board

Coronavirus / Covid vaccination programme to pick up pace this week

The Pfizer vaccine. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

LARGE mass Covid vaccination clinics are due to resume this week, with the number of first doses given out in Shetland set to increase.

NHS Shetland chairman Gary Robinson gave the update at a meeting of the health board on Tuesday morning.

He said as of yesterday (Monday) 68.8 per cent of people had received a first dose.

For the second dose that figure is now 43.6 per cent, which is the highest percentage of all Scottish health boards.

“We have protected as fully as possible more of the most vulnerable people in our community,” Robinson said.

The pace of the rollout in Shetland depends on the supply of the vaccine.

The health board meeting also heard that Prince William had phoned a representative of NHS Shetland to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic.

Meanwhile NHS Shetland has given some explanation as to why the health board appears to be lagging behind in its overall vaccination figures compared to NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles.

Last week, for example, 17,522 people in the Western Isles had been vaccinated compared to 14,378 in Orkney and 12,878 in Shetland.

A spokesperson for NHS Shetland said that all island boards have been working through vaccination priority groups as set by the JCVI [the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation] and Scottish Government policy, but they have had some flexibility depending on actual and projected vaccine supply.

“The amount of vaccine received by boards to date is based on the number of people in the priority groups that have been and are currently being vaccinated, so the Western Isles has received more vaccine than compared to Shetland,” she said.

“NHS Shetland may appear to be slightly behind the other island boards in terms of the percentage of the population having had a first jab, but it has the highest percentage of second jabs administered for any board in Scotland and the smallest number of people who have waited for more than 12 weeks for a second dose.

“This means we have protected, as fully as possible, more of the most vulnerable people.

“With large clinics being planned for this week for first doses, the percentage coverage for first doses will soon increase.”