Life returns to normal as vaccine rollout continues

The vaccination hall at Arran High School prior to any patients arriving.

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Life will return to a bit more like normality on Arran next week.

Most pubs, hotels and restaurants, shops and other businesses will be almost fully reopened allowing the welcome return of customers to enjoy their full range of services.

The island is already much busier following the reopening of tourism last month and the move to level 2 restrictions in North Ayrshire, while still high, is certainly a welcome sign that things are moving in the right direction.

There will also be delight across the island as families are able to reunite both here and on the mainland with the easing of restrictions.

Meanwhile, the mass vaccination programme steps up a gear on Arran next weekend when the under-5os will be invited to roll up their sleeves for their vaccination against Covid-19.

The latest vaccinations will take place at Arran High School on Saturday, May 22, and it means by the end of the month all adults, over the age of 18, will  have had the chance to have their first Covid jab.

It follows the clinic last Saturday which saw the remainder of the over-50s, and those with underlying medical conditions receive their second jab, putting Arran ahead of the mainland rollout.

The NHS Ayrshire & Arran mass vaccination programme currently uses two of the three Covid-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK – Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford/ AstraZeneca. More than 200,000 people have had at least one dose of these vaccines in Ayrshire and more than 100,000 are now fully vaccinated, having had both doses.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued updated advice which relates to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran interim director of public health Lynne McNiven said: ‘Our local mass vaccination programme is closely following the advice and guidance set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), JCVI and the Scottish Government. Where possible people under the age of 40 in Ayrshire and Arran will be offered the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, subject to supply.

‘There will be people in this age group locally who have already received one dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca. These people should still come forward for their second dose of the same vaccine when offered an appointment, as there are currently no safety concerns regarding rare blood clot events with second doses. Over 16 million second doses have already been given across the UK.’