Health leaders in Shetland hope to be able to offer thousands of Covid-19 jabs every week after the launch of three new mass vaccination centres in the coming weeks.
Brian Chittick, chief officer for Shetland’s community health and social care partnership , said the first of the centres was hoped to launch at the Independent Living Centre in Gremista at the beginning of February.
Centres at the Gilbertson Park games hall and Scalloway Sports Centre are hoped to open in early March.
“As we scale up and move more into the age groups that will give us a lot more capacity,” he said.
“By spring we hope to have all the over 50s vaccinated using those mass vaccination centres.”
Mr Chittick cautioned, however, that the rollout was dependent on supply of the vaccines.
NHS Shetland’s chief executive officer Michael Dickson thanked the SIC for supporting the health board in what he said would be the biggest public health vaccination drive of all time – with the whole adult population needing to be vaccinated.
Mr Dickson said the aim was to “get vaccines in as many arms as possible as quickly as was safe,”.
By spring the health board hoped to have already vaccinated all over 80s, over 70s, over 60s and be busy with the over 50s.
“This is not something that NHS Shetland can do on its own but will involve every one of us playing a part to ensure we all safe,” Mr Dickson added.
“We all want to return to normal life and, once again, enjoy Up-Helly-A’, going to restaurants and relaxing in one another’s company.”
SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison said: “The council’s priority throughout the pandemic has been working with the NHS and other partners to maximise our joint resources and respond to the virus.
Now the top priority is the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The more people who are vaccinated, the more likely we are to keep infection rates in check and get our community back on its feet and our economy into recovery.”
SIC executive manager for assets, commissioning and procurement Robert Sinclair said that the venues were now being prepared, including details such as signage, parking and security.
“This is involving a lot of co-ordination but the facilities will be in place when the
vaccine arrives in larger quantities.”
NHS Shetland estates and facilities manager Lawson Bisset said his team was moving quickly to turn the venues into vaccinations centres.
“This is a massive project and involves an enormous amount of logistical planning,” he added.
“The NHS Shetland team has responded quickly and with focus and we will be ready.”