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All residents over the age of 70 on Arran, and those in the shielding category, have received their second Covid jabs, with the uptake in excess of 95 per cent.
Those over 50 will all have received their second jab by the end of next month and as the vaccination rollout continues apace on the island, health officials say it has been a great success so far, with the latest clinic again being held at Arran High School last weekend.
In a statement by Dr Greg Hamill, Arran clinical lead of the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: ‘On Arran there have been fewer than five positive coronavirus cases since January 2021. Despite this low number, it remains important the residents of Arran continue to make use of the testing facilities available to them and continue to follow the FACTS guidance to help protect our communities from the spread of the virus – even after vaccination.
‘The Covid-19 vaccination programme has been a great success so far. Those in priority groups one to nine have been offered first vaccinations and uptake on Arran has been high. This includes those aged over 50 years, those identified in the higher risk groups aged between 16-50 years old and Health and Social Care staff.
‘Most recently, clinics saw second doses completed for patients aged 70 and over, as well as those in the shielding group. We are awaiting confirmation of figures after the weekend but it appears that the uptake of second doses will be close to that seen with first vaccinations in these groups, in excess of 95 per cent of those eligible.
‘Currently, vaccinators are continuing to offer second doses to housebound patients, with the aim of completing that group at the end of this week.
‘Next month appointments will be offered to everyone else over the age of 50 to come forward for their second dose as well as patients aged 16-50 who are in the higher risk group. We are awaiting confirmation of a date for vaccine delivery for first doses for those in the younger age group. As residents become eligible we will get in touch to arrange an appointment – there is no need to phone to book in for this.
‘The national guidelines are to receive the second dose of vaccine within 12 weeks of the first. It is important that you return for your second vaccination when invited to do so, as this will provide the maximum level of protection against Covid-19, for a longer duration.
‘Thank you to all involved across the Health and Social Care Partnership and community and to everyone who has taken up the offer of a vaccine so far,’ Dr Hamill added.
Across NHS Ayrshire and Arran more than 200,000 people have now received at least one dose of Covid vaccine as part of the local vaccination programme.
The milestone was reached as the vaccination programme entered its fourth month, with the first vaccinations given locally on 8 December 2020. By last Sunday 204,178 people have been vaccinated in Ayrshire and Arran and 32,803 people have completed both of their doses.
Joint director of public health Lynne McNiven said: ‘The uptake has been tremendous and we can see the positive impact the vaccination programme is having in our communities, with fewer hospitalisations and lower transmission levels. The best way to maximise the efficacy of the vaccine is to have both doses, so I would really encourage everyone offered an appointment for that second vaccine takes the opportunity to do so.
‘The vaccination programme is the largest of its kind we have ever delivered and it has come about thanks to the hard work of an army of vaccinators and support staff from the health and social care work force. The effort has been vast and it is hugely appreciated.’
Locally the board is currently using two of the vaccines authorised for use in the UK, the Pfizer BioNtech and the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) issued updated information on very rare side effects for AstraZeneca vaccine recently and as a result adults under 30 will be offered an alternative vaccine, if available.