COVID-19 vaccinations are being rolled out to people in the region aged 65 to 69 from today – as the vaccination programme continues at speed.
All care home residents and staff who took up the opportunity were vaccinated before Christmas, the bulk of front line health and social care staff have had their first jab, and most people aged 80 and over have now received theirs.
Across the first two weeks of February vaccinations will now take place not just for people aged 70 and over as well as those people who are shielding, but also now for those in the 65 to 69 age group.
An extra five vaccination locations are being added to the 22 which already exist across the region, with this expansion possible via an increased availability of vaccine supplies and careful logistical management of these stocks.
Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer Julie White said: “The vaccination programme in Dumfries and Galloway has been progressing very positively – with first vaccinations being provided at a pace which matches the supply of vaccine stocks and meets the national schedules set by The Scottish Government.
“We’re pleased to say that most people aged 80 and over will now have received their first dose of the vaccine, and that, as the programme moves on, we are able to advance it a little further to include all of those aged 65 and over.
“Recognising the significant size of our population aged 65 to 69, and based on vaccine stock expectations, we have made arrangements to also begin delivering vaccinations to this group from today. As ever, this is by invitation, and so we would ask people to remain patient until they are contacted and provided with their appointment. We’d ask them to be aware that vaccinations may be taking place at more than one location in their community, and so to only follow the directions provided to them individually.
“The aim is to complete the programme for those aged 65 to 79 within the next two weeks, by February 14. This will mean that a very large number of people in our region most at risk from COVID-19 will have been provided with some degree of protection. This will be highly significant, but it won’t mean that our struggle with the coronavirus is over.
“It is crucial that anyone who receives their vaccination against COVID-19 continues to protect themselves, their loved ones and communities by continuing to follow the national guidance. This means continuing to wear face coverings as directed, maintaining hand hygiene and physical distancing. It also means immediately self-isolating along with family and arranging a COVID-19 test if experiencing any symptoms.
“We’re making good progress, but we can’t afford the consequences of what might follow if we let our guard down at this point – either individually or as a region.”
Twenty-two venues across the region in the form of town halls and sports centres were already being employed by NHS teams to provide vaccinations, now joined by a further five. Community nurses have meanwhile been providing vaccinations to those people who are unable to leave their home.
A number of GP practices are now helping to deliver vaccines – allowing for a mixed model of larger and smaller venues. GP practices are playing a key role in arranging appointments for those eligible for COVID vaccination, balancing this role with their continuing work serving the communities.
As stated, everyone eligible to be vaccinated is asked to wait until they receive an invitation. Arrangements for other recipient groups as identified by the Scottish Government will be provided in due course.
Information on vaccinations is available through the national helpline, which can be phoned between 8 am and 8 pm seven days a week on 0800 030 8013.