VACCINATION against COVID-19 is now underway in Dumfries and Galloway, with those aged over 80 in line to receive their first jab before the end of January.
The first vaccinations using newly-approved Oxford/Astrazeneca began today, and included Frances Robertson, aged 80.
Frances said: “I’m very happy to be receiving my vaccination today.”
The new Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine is bringing advantages to the roll-out of the vaccination programme across the region.
Interim Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “It’s fantastic that the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine has also now been approved for use.
“It does not have the same storage and transportation requirements of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which was approved earlier in December, and this will really assist us in scaling up the vaccination programme in our communities.
”The start of vaccinations today for those aged over 80 should mean that most people in that age group will have received their jab before the end of the month.From February 1, the vaccination programme will move on to those aged 75 to 80, with the 70-75 year cohort and those shielding scheduled for the second two weeks of February.”
Ms White said: “GPs across the region are taking on the work of identifying all those eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination – as set out in the established Scottish Government criteria.
“Those people will be contacted directly, and invited to attend to receive their initial COVID-19 vaccination.
“Vaccinations will be provided in facilities such as town halls and community centres, which provide the adequate space to ensure safety.”
A total of 22 locations have been locked in to serve as locations for provision of COVID vaccinations, and these are spread across the region. Attendance is by direct invitation only, and people are instructed not to contact their GP or the NHS.
Anyone with a question about the vaccination is invited to telephone the national helpline, which runs between 8 am and 8 pm seven days a week on 0800 030 8013.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign for those identified by the Scottish Government as first recipients has been proceeding well.Across health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway, 2200 people who work or volunteer will have been vaccinated by the end of last week.
This number does not include all those residents and staff in older adult care homes in the region who received their initial vaccinations by December 24.
As set out nationally, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) who advise the UK government on all matters regarding immunisation and the Chief Medical Officers of all four UK nations have now recommended that the second dose of the vaccine is provided 12 weeks after the first.
Further information will be provided as the vaccination campaign expands.