A SCALING up of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dumfries and Galloway is underway – with 14 GP practices now set to help deliver jabs.
Twenty-two venues across the region in the form of town halls and sports centres are already being employed by NHS teams to provide vaccinations for the over 80s.
Last week a total of 4000 vaccinations took place, thanks in significant part to the new Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine which does not have the same storage or transportation requirements as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
And as of 20/01/21 a total of 11,448 vaccinations had taken place within Dumfries and Galloway.
Arrangements have now been finalised which will allow around half the region’s GP practices to support an expansion of this work by providing jabs to eligible recipients where it has been mutually agreed it can be safely delivered and without impacting on the practices’ day-to-day services..
Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer Julie White said: “A huge amount of work has taken place in a short space of time to get the vaccination campaign rolled out as quickly as possible in Dumfries and Galloway, in line with Scottish Government directions.
“The existing 22 locations which have been secured help fulfil the aim of providing vaccinations to as many people as possible, quickly, and in the safest way, maximising staffing resources which are being significantly tested by the current circumstances.
“GP Practices are playing a key role in arranging appointments for those eligible for COVID vaccination. However, work has also been taking place to see if it might be possible for some practices to also play a role in the delivery of vaccines while allowing them to provide essential day-to-day services.
“I’m very happy to say that it has been agreed to mutual satisfaction that vaccinations will be able to be delivered safely and without impacting on those practices’ day-to-day services at 14 participating GP practices – representing around half the total GP practices in the region.
“This will help to expand the locations where vaccines can be delivered as part of a mixed model of delivery using a combination of larger and smaller venues, and will allow the rate of vaccinations to increase as allowed by vaccine supplies.
“We are hugely grateful not just for the role being played by these 14 practices, but all of the practices within the region who are playing a variety of important roles in addressing this pandemic.
“It is very important that people understand that a vaccination does not deliver immediate immunity from COVID-19, or remove the need to continue to follow directions such as around use of face coverings, hygiene and physical distancing.
“Immunity takes several weeks to develop from the first jab, which is followed by a second. Until such time as widespread immunity is developed, all rules need to continue to be followed.”
In addition to the vaccinations which have already taken place in care homes, and at the 22 vaccination locations, community nurses have been providing vaccinations to those who are housebound.
In an acceleration of the programme, and in line with national directions, vaccinations for all those aged over 70 are now set to take place within the first two weeks of February – instead of running across the month.
Arrangements for other recipient groups as identified by the Scottish Government will be provided in due course, with a request that no one gets in touch about their own vaccination arrangements.
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.
Pictured is Mr Alexander Jardine, 80, who received his first vaccination in Stranraer last Friday, and who said: “You made a good job of it, nurse.”