Shetland’s vaccination roll-out could be ramped up to become a 12 hours a day, seven days a week, operation in a bid to reach as many folk as possible.
Integration joint board chief officer Brian Chittick said the advantage of the new mass vaccination centres – the first of which opens in Gremista on Monday – was the added flexibility to increase the rate of delivery.
“The mass vaccination centres with the added number of vaccination areas, or pods as we’re calling them, allows the programme to adapt to the supply we get,” he said.
“So we are able to to move 12 hour days, seven days a week if the vaccine is there.
“It will provide that flexibility to increase up to thousands of vaccinations a week – that’s what we’re working and resourcing towards.”
NHS Shetland and colleagues at the SIC first announced the upcoming launch of the new centres last week.
The first will be located at the Independent Living Centre in Gremista, near to Pelagia Shetland (Shetland Catch) and Grieg Seafood.
While the plan is to increase the rollout to match supply, Mr Chittick said the initial opening would be with smaller numbers and with shorter days.
A further centre at the Gilbertson Park games hall is scheduled to open by 1st March. There are also plans for a centre in Scalloway, which is hoped to provide even more options as the rollout proceeds.
Mr Chittick said all of the first two priority groups – health and social care workers and the over 80s – will have been vaccinated by this time next week.
The next cohort, which includes the over 70s and extremely clinically vulnerably, will be among the first to get vaccinated at the mass centre.
Mr Chittick said invites were planned to begin from today.
Folk are being asked to arrive as close to their appointment as possible, so they do not have to wait around in large groups.
NHS Shetland has stressed the vaccinations are on an appointment-only basis – people cannot simply turn up on the day as had been the case with the temporary testing centre.
Mr Chittick said appointments would generally be offered by telephone, often with relatively short notice due to the nature of supply.
Due to the quick turnaround, NHS Shetland is urging people to take the appointment times they are offered, although there may be some flexibility for alternatives in certain circumstances.