Major Covid booster clinic will help protect islanders

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A mass vaccination clinic is set to take place this weekend for all people aged between 18 to 49 who are due their booster vaccine and for all 12 to 17-year-olds who are due their second vaccine.

The clinic will take place by appointment only tomorrow (Saturday) at Arran High School and is in response to updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation related to the Omicron variant.

Ruth Betley, senior manager of 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 vaccine and 12-17-year-olds for their second doses.

‘New guidance means that the third dose of Covid vaccine can be given to people in those eligible groups where it has been at least three months since their second vaccine.

‘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.’

Appointments for future vaccination clinics can be made by calling Arran Medical Group on 01770 600516 between 2pm and 5.15pm from Monday to Friday.

Public Health Scotland figures report that up to December 3 between zero and two Covid cases were on Arran. This figure is used to protect patient confidentiality when cases are below three.

Meanwhile, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said this week that Scotland’s Covid-19 restrictions are to be reviewed on a daily basis due to a rapid increase in cases of the Omicron variant.

The first minister said she expected the number to continue to increase, and for the new variant to ‘account for a rising share of overall cases’ and said the emergence of Omicron was a ‘significant challenge for all of us’.

Travel rules have already been tightened, and Ms Sturgeon said she would consider on a daily basis whether other measures – such as the extended use of Covid passports – were needed.

Cases have been reported in nine of Scotland’s 14 health board areas, including NHS Ayrshire & Arran with fears of widespread community transmission.

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I would expect to see a continued and potentially rapid rise in cases in the days ahead, and for Omicron to account for a rising share of overall cases.’

She also said employers should ensure that all staff who can work from home are able to, saying this should continue until at least the middle of January.