NHS Shetland expects to offer Covid vaccines next month

NHS Shetland says it expects to be able to start offering coronavirus vaccines next month.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman announced last week that the vaccination programme would begin in December, and NHS Shetland public health consultant Dr Susan Laidlaw has now said the local health board is preparing for the rollout.

The first groups of people to be offered the vaccination will include health care workers, care home workers, care home residents and people aged 80 and over.

Dr Laidlaw said the initial programme would be similar to flu vaccinations, with vaccines being administered either in GP clinics or at their workplace.

“However, there are a number of practical issues to deal with before we roll out the programme including vaccine transportation and storage,” she said.

“For example, one of the vaccines we will be receiving in Scotland needs to be stored in a freezer at -70C.

“We are planning to give two doses of the vaccine, about a month apart, but we do not yet know if this will become an annual vaccine like flu.”

The local health board said that initially the coronavirus vaccine programme would be handled by local flu vaccine teams, but added new staff may be brought in next year when the programme was rolled out to more people.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 is a huge step forward in tackling the pandemic and I would hope that during next year we will see some significant changes in the restrictions that we are currently living with.

“No vaccine is 100% effective, but if enough people are vaccinated then the spread of the virus will be considerably reduced, if not stopped.”

Dr Laidlaw said that though it was a “personal choice” whether people took the vaccinations, she added she would “strongly urge” anyone offered it to take up the offer.


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