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Coronavirus / Nine new Covid cases as NHS marks one year of vaccination effort

A mobile operating theatre – pictured above – has also arrived in Lerwick to tackle a backlog caused by the pandemic

The mobile operating theatre arriving at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in December. Photo: Jim Mullay

A FURTHER nine cases of Covid have been reported – making it a total of 30 for the period between Monday to Friday.

Meanwhile, a mobile theatre has arrived off the ferry on Friday morning and is being put in place on the carpark on the south side of the Gilbert Bain to boost the hospital’s surgery capabilities amid a backlog caused by the pandemic.

It has also been a year since the first Covid vaccine was administered in Shetland, to health workers on 11 December 2020.

Since then, nearly 50,000 vaccines have been delivered in the isles.

Vaccination programme team leader Elaine Maguire said: “Our clinics continue to be busy – just last Saturday we delivered 374 vaccines to a range of age groups – some had first doses, some second doses and some boosters.

“I would like to thank all the people involved in delivering the vaccines, and all the people who are attending and getting them as it really is the best way we can protect one another going into another winter.”

Meanwhile it is expected that people aged over 30 will be able to book a booster appointment online from 14 December.

Currently that service is only available to boosters for over 40s, as well as 16-17 year olds for a second dose.

The hope is that the online booking system will open up for boosters for over 18s in the days leading up to Christmas.

There is, however, a walk-in clinic planned for the Gilbertson Park in Lerwick on Saturday (11 December) between 9.15am and 1.30pm.

This is for anyone who is due a Covid vaccine – either their first, second or booster, or anyone who is eligible for a flu jab who hasn’t received it yet.

Interim director for public health Dr Susan Laidlaw said: “Although we have had our ups and downs, overall the vaccination programme in Shetland has been going really well, thanks to the hard work of all the staff and volunteers involved and the support from the community in coming forward for their vaccinations when invited. 87.3 per cent of the people aged 50 and over in Shetland have now had their Covid booster – this is the highest rate in Scotland.

“78.5 per cent of teenagers aged 12-15 have had their first dose, again the highest rate in Scotland. We believe our rates are amongst the highest uptake rates for every age group for every dose.

“We know that vaccination does prevent serious illness, so this really is good news for the Shetland community. The programme is incredibly complex and frequently changing so it truly is a magnificent achievement to be where we are now.

“But I really want to urge anyone who has not yet had their first dose or is due their second dose to come forward as soon as possible. Especially pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions.

“Although I understand it may be a very difficult decision to make when pregnant, we’d urge you to talk with your midwife or come to the clinic and talk to a vaccinator it you have any concerns.”

Anyone with questions on vaccinations should contact NHS Shetland via email shet.vaccination-team@nhs.scot or call the voicemail service 01595 743319.

It come after Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned of the potential surge in Covid cases linked to the new Omicron variant.