First Covid vaccination clinic held in Badenoch and Strathspey hailed a success
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The first Covid vaccination clinic to be held in the strath has been hailed as a major success.
Grantown Medical Practice staff carried out the first immunisations at the town's Craig MacLean Leisure Centre yesterday.
Nearly 300 patients aged 80 and over were given their BioNTech/Pfizer vaccinations in a four-hour session at the sports centre which had been laid on by Highland High Life for the big day.
Kathy Cockman, executive manager of the medical practice, said the take-up rate amongst eligible patients registered with them had been exceedingly high.
She said: "We were notified last Friday that we had access to the vaccines and the site to do this in. We had to pull out all of the stops at our end to get the clinic up and running in time.
"We had virtually 100 per cent take-up by patients able to get themselves to the clinic.
"We have a small number of patients who are housebound and because of the way we need to treat the vaccine they will be getting the Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine when it becomes available to us which will hopefully be by the end of this month."
Ms Cockman said there was a small number of elderly patients they were unable to make contact with prior to the clinic.
Efforts will continue to try and contact them and they will be given the chance to be immunised when the next lot of vaccines is made available to the surgery by NHS Highland.
Ms Cockman commented: "Our patients showed up in their droves over the course of the session. The atmosphere was very positive and the team is very pleased with how it has all gone."
The vaccinations were administered by the practice's nursing team and four of the town's GPs who worked on a shift basis while retired former health centre staff also volunteered by helping with marshalling.
Ms Cockburn paid tribute to all the staff who had been involved and to Fraser Tulloch, HLH's Badenoch and Strathspey facility manager, and his team for ensuring that the venue was accessible given the freezing conditions.
They ensured that the surrounding paths were all cleared so that patients could make their way to the leisure centre in safety.
Scottish Government policy adopted by NHS Highland means that the second set of vaccinations will be given to this group of patients aged 80 and over within the next 12 weeks.
The next session will be for patients aged over 75 registered with the practice but no date has yet been announced, and it will depend on supplies of the vaccine from NHS Highland.