NHS Dumfries & Galloway

Second dose push amid concerns over variant

NEW national directions have been issued placing an increased emphasis on second dose COVID -19 vaccinations.
Instructions to Boards in a letter from Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer come amid concerns around the potential risks posed by the B1.617.2 variant which has been recorded in parts of Scotland.
Fortunately, Dumfries and Galloway is already very far ahead in terms of second dose vaccinations – with 55 per cent of all adults aged over 18 now having received both jags, against a national average of 37.6 per cent.
And while these directions mean efforts should be made nationally to provide people with their second jag within eight weeks rather than 12, this should not impact on the continuing roll-out of first dose vaccinations in Dumfries and Galloway.
Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “We don’t as yet have any recorded cases of the B1.617.2 within Dumfries and Galloway, but it should be anticipated that at some point we will.
“Having both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine provides the maximum protection against the coronavirus, and fortunately we are well advanced within the region in terms of second doses.
“This is partly because we started further ahead of the national average with first doses and we have a markedly older population than many other parts of the country. This represents the bulk of where our vaccination work will have taken place.”
However, Ms White added: “Although having an older population means we’ve got a very high percentage of people with both doses, it has presented a challenge – ensuring our very large older cohorts receive their second doses within 12 weeks while we continue to roll out first doses to younger cohorts.
“Nevertheless, and despite limitations in the availability of national vaccine supplies throughout April, we remain on course to ensure everyone will have received their second jag at the right time, and also to have completed first jags for the 40-49 age cohort by the required date of May 31 in line with the rest of Scotland.
“We’re also hopeful that this increased emphasis on accelerating second dose vaccinations will not impact on the continuing first dose roll-out.”
As at this week, almost three-quarters of all adults aged 18 plus in Dumfries and Galloway have at least had their first dose vaccination – at 92,799 people, or 74.1 per cent. Nationally, it stands at 68.4 per cent.
Currently, and on the basis of continued vaccine supplies, 40 to 49-year-olds are on course to have received their first vaccination by the end of May, in just 12 days’ time.
And as per national schedules, all adults in the region should have received their first dose vaccinations by the end of July.