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'Extraordinary' vaccination work praised by NHS Highland chiefs

By Gavin Musgrove

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Melanie Dick gets her Covid-19 vaccination from practioner Hannah Smith in Grantown last week.
Melanie Dick gets her Covid-19 vaccination from practioner Hannah Smith in Grantown last week.

The NHS Highland vaccination programme is progressing well with 87,698 been given their first vaccination by the start of this week.

It means that around 33 per cent of the over 18 population of the Highlands – as well as Argyll and Bute which also comes under its boundaries – have had their jabs.

The health board said it completed its first dose vaccination in care homes ahead of schedule.

Health bosses have said it is planned to have all residents in the homes offered their second vaccination by the end of next month.

More than 95 per cent of over 80s and over 75s have received their first vaccine while nearly 85 per cent of over 70s have also received their jab.

Those aged 65 and over have now started to be invited to receive their first vaccine and it is hoped this group will be completed by the end of this month.

Pam Dudek, chief executive of NHS Highland, said: “The work being carried out by GP colleagues to vaccinate the general population is extraordinary with additional clinics being held in the evenings and at weekends to ensure the programme continues to meet targets.

"We have our local teams vaccinating colleagues across health and social care with help from the Scottish Ambulance Service and their mobile unit.

"There are also a number of teams working behind the scenes teams who are doing everything they can to support the roll out of the programme.

“Thanks must also go to our partners across the NHS Highland area including Highland Council and Argyll and Bute Council who have provided support in various ways to keep the programme on track.

"We have had support with offers of buildings to assist our GPs, volunteers to help with marshalling and even a snow plough from the team at Dounreay to ensure the vaccine could reach its destination.”

Professor Boyd Robertson, Chair of NHS Highland, said the region's vaccination programme has been a massive undertaking.

He said: "The challenge really cannot be overstated. It is thanks to the unstinting efforts of everyone involved throughout NHS Highland that we have been able to deliver the amount of vaccine we have across our vast territory stretching from Wick and Thurso in the north to Campbeltown and Helensburgh in the south and from Tiree in the west to Nairn in the east.

It’s been humbling to hear of all the ways that teams across the NHS Highland area are pulling together to ensure the vaccination programme is a success.

"I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone involved.

“I would also like to thank members of the public who have been coming forward in their thousands to take up the offer of the vaccination.

"This has been a very challenging time for us all but it is vital that we remain focussed on rolling out the vaccination programme and, hopefully, restoring a semblance of normal life beyond the pandemic.”

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