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By Hugh Boag
All residents on Arran, aged 18 or over, have had both doses of the Covid jab, making the island one of the first places in Scotland to have the adult population fully vaccinated.
The latest vaccination day at Arran High School last weekend saw the last two cohorts in the youngest age groups receive their injections, and while final figures will not be available until the end of the week, take up was said to be high. Full figures will be in the Banner next week.
However, while the island population may be fully vaccinated caution is still being urged as all visitors may not be, although they are being encourage to take two tests before visiting the island.
The breakthrough came just days before First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that almost all of Scotland’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions are to end from Monday August 9.
Social distancing will be dropped in most settings, meaning more capacity in pubs and restaurants and larger crowds at sporting events and concerts. And close contacts of those who test positive for Covid will no longer have to self-isolate – as long as they are fully vaccinated and test negative.
However, the wearing of face coverings in some public spaces will continue.
This will include secondary schools, where staff will need to maintain one metre physical distancing for the first six weeks of term and twice-weekly testing will be required.
UK experts are also expected to recommend in the coming days that all 16 and 17-year-olds should be offered a Covid vaccine.
Commenting on Arran’s vaccination success, Lynne McNiven, director of public health said: ‘NHS Ayrshire & Arran has seen an incredible response to our mass vaccination programme and are continuing to vaccinate according to the JCVI prioritisation as set out nationally.
Residents on the island, aged 18 or over, will now have been offered a vaccination appointment and invited to attend vaccination clinics for both first and second doses. Uptake has been high among all the groups invited for vaccination so far.’
Ms McNiven added: ‘The vaccine offers the best level of protection against the virus and we encourage everyone to take the opportunity when it’s their turn. Vaccinations are not mandatory, however, we strongly recommend people come forward when they are invited.’