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Coronavirus / Low number of wasted appointments and vaccines

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

THERE has been relatively few cases of people not turning up for Covid vaccine appointments in Shetland, according to local health officials.

Meanwhile there has also been low wastage of vaccine – but an issue with the electrics of a freezer put paid to some Pfizer doses.

NHS Shetland’s interim public health director Dr Susan Laidlaw said the numbers of people not attending for appointments is “very small”.

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“Because we phone up, people can negotiate their appointments to a certain degree, so people do tend to keep it,” she said.

Dr Laidlaw did say there were instances of people phoning up at short notice to rearrange an appointment, but word had not got through to clinic staff on the ground.

Speaking in a media briefing on Thursday, Dr Laidlaw said there was also relatively low wastage of vaccine until the freezer problem.

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored in a freezer at between -80°C to -60°C.

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“In terms of what the vaccinators are doing, there’s been a few vials lost,” Dr Laidlaw said.

“With the Pfizer you don’t even have to drop the vial, if you accidentally knock it then you can’t use it. Although the guidance has changed, it’s not quite as stringent as it was.”

The pace of the vaccine programme in Shetland has been dependent on supply from the mainland, but Dr Laidlaw said this was steadier now.

More than 90 per cent of adults in Shetland have so far received first doses, while for second doses it is around a half of the population.

Dr Laidlaw, meanwhile, said it remains unclear as to how possible booster vaccines could play out.

She was speaking after it was confirmed that the health board would now seek to accelerate second doses following a change in national guidance.

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