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By Colin Smeeton
Arran had a big rise in Covid cases last week as a surge in the pandemic hit schools and businesses across the island.
Latest official figures show there are 41 confirmed cases of Covid on Arran, from just six at the start of the month, and there are fears numbers are still climbing.
North Ayrshire Council has warned schools might have to close or individual classes or year groups may have to be sent home due to pupil and staff absences.
A planned VisitArran business meeting was cancelled this week because of Covid concerns.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has extended the legal requirement to wear masks in shops and on public transport until at least early April with a prediction that the latest surge, caused by the BA.2 Omicron variant, may peak within the next fortnight.
It comes as efforts to vaccinate the public continue. Children aged between five and 11 years can get their primary Covid jag at a clinic in Arran High School next week.
The clinic will be held on Saturday March 26 for all eligible groups with a further one offering spring booster appointments on Saturday April 2.
Children will receive a paediatric dose of the vaccine – a third of the size of an adult dose – and will be due for a second dose at least 12 weeks later. Those with specific medical conditions or who live with someone who is severely immunosuppressed are eligible for two doses at least eight weeks apart and those who are severely immunosuppressed are eligible for three doses at least eight weeks apart.
People in the following groups are also eligible for a second booster vaccination:
• adults aged 75 years and over
• residents in care homes for older adults
• individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed
Members of these groups or their parents/carers should call Arran Medical Group to make an appointment to attend. The surgery can be contacted on 01770 600516 after 2pm from Monday to Friday.
Ruth Betley, senior manager, Arran Services for North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: ‘The vaccination programme for Arran has been very successful since we first delivered Covid-19 vaccines to residents. Uptake has been very high 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 welcome those aged five to 11 years for their first dose and those aged 75 and over or who are most at risk for a second booster dose.
‘We understand parents and carers may have questions regarding the vaccine for their child and we are happy to arrange a discussion with a clinician. Any parent or carer in Ayrshire that wishes to do this should call 01563 826540.
‘If you are coming along for vaccine yourself, or are organising for a family member to attend, adjustments can be made at clinics to help accommodate people with additional support requirements. Call ahead on the local number or speak to a member of staff on the day.
‘Vaccination teams will also be delivering spring booster vaccines to island care home residents and those who are housebound from the end of March.
‘Thanks again to everyone on Arran who has helped to ensure the vaccine programme runs smoothly. In particular, thanks go to our colleagues in North Ayrshire Council for allowing us to use Arran High School.’
Children aged between five and 11 years can get their Covid vaccine next week. No_B11Covid01