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By Colin Smeeton
Preparations are well under way to offer Covid-19 vaccines to young people who are newly eligible for their first dose and to those who are fully vaccinated who are now eligible for a third booster vaccine on Arran.
A single dose of the Pfizer BionNTech vaccine for the 12 to 15 year old age group was recently recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to reduce the disruption caused to education by Covid.
The booster vaccine programme is aimed at maintaining protection levels against coronavirus for the most vulnerable groups during winter.
The third dose can only be given to people in the eligible groups and where it has been at least six months – 24 weeks – since their second vaccine.
Arran High School is being used for the mass vaccination campaign and the following groups will be welcomed soon:
• All Arran residents aged 70 years and over
• Clinically extremely vulnerable residents who are aged 16 and over, previously shielding
• 12 to 15 year olds
Members of these groups should call Arran Medical Group on 01770 600516 to make an appointment with clinics scheduled to take place on Saturday October 9 and Sunday October 10.
Arran Medical Group has asked that people in these categories please call between 5.15pm and 7pm, Monday to Thursday, by Thursday October 7, to make appointments. This arrangement is to keep the practice lines clear for routine enquiries and appointments during the daytime.
Ruth Betley, senior manager, Arran Services for North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: ‘The vaccination programme for Arran has been highly successful since we first delivered Covid vaccines to residents. Uptake has been phenomenal and that is great news, as vaccination offers the best protection we have against the negative effects of the virus.
‘We are now delighted to be able to welcome those eligible for a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Please call the Arran Medical Group after 5.15pm to make that appointment by October 7 and we will book you in.
‘Now that the vaccination programme is being rolled out to younger people, those in the 12 to 15 age group will be offered one dose. The Covid-19 vaccines have demonstrated they are safe and effective in this age group and vaccination offers the best chance of protecting young people from Covid-19 and preventing further disruption to education.
‘Getting the Covid-19 vaccine is a decision to be made jointly between parents or carers and young people, but it’s really important to use reliable and trusted sources such as NHS Inform when making a decision and assessing the potential benefits, risks and side effects. Individual choice should be respected for the decisions young people and their parents or carers make in accepting or not accepting the vaccine offer.
‘Parents or carers are encouraged to attend appointments with their children and both can ask questions about any queries they have before the vaccination is given.
‘Vaccination teams will also be delivering booster vaccines to residents of our care homes and those who are housebound on the island from next week.
‘I would like to take this opportunity to give my thanks once again to all those on Arran who have helped to ensure the vaccine programme runs smoothly. In particular, I would like to thank our colleagues in North Ayrshire Council for allowing us to use Arran High School for the vaccination programme.’
Young people aged 12 to 15 who do not attend the clinics on Saturday October 9 and Sunday October 10 will have another opportunity for vaccination at school on Monday October 18 when school vaccinators will also be delivering seasonal flu vaccines at Arran High School.
People in the other eligible categories who are unable to attend the clinics scheduled for your group will be offered a further opportunity to get their vaccination in November.