The news that the first phase of vaccinations in Scotland for Covid 19 will begin as early as Tuesday 8th of December has been welcomed by Orkney’s politicians. The vaccination programme will be administered free by our NHS.
Constituency MSP Liam McArthur, LibDem, said:
“People in Orkney and across the country will be relieved to hear that a vaccine is now within touching distance. This certainly now feels like a significant moment in the fightback against a virus that has caused unthinkable disruption and challenges to our lives and communities this year.
“Inevitably, attentions are already turning to how we can expect to see supplies of the vaccine administered to our islands. Ironing out any logistical and practical issues will be critically important and, while I welcome the First Minister’s recognition of the task ahead, we’ll need firm details very shortly.
“I will be following up today’s announcement with the Health Secretary and NHS Orkney over the coming days to seek that clarity. For now, however, I pay tribute to all those who have worked so hard to make this breakthrough in record-breaking time.”
The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been authorised for use in the UK, was an international collaboration and is being dispatched from their site in Belgium.
The vaccine, which must be stored at well below freezing, will be transported to 23 locations around the country in temperature controlled lorries. This particular vaccine requires 2 doses and first to be vaccinated will be those who will be administering it.
Maree Todd MSP, SNP said
“This really is the most positive news we have had in some time. This has been an incredibly tough year for everyone across the Highlands & Islands and throughout Scotland, but finally, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
“As the First Minister mentioned in today’s briefing, the rollout of the vaccine will be the biggest peacetime logistical challenge that the country will have ever taken on. There is no doubt that there will be challenges ahead, but today’s news is certainly a turning point.
“Whilst the end of this pandemic is firmly in sight, we must continue to follow all the necessary steps to protect each other. The Highlands & Islands may be in Level 1, but it is just as important that we adhere to the restrictions in place to suppress the spread of the virus.”
The priority in Scotland will be for those with the greatest clinical need – including those aged over 80, and health and social care workers. It is being worked out how the vaccination programme can reach Care Homes.
Other types of Covid19 are still being developed with some nearing being ready.
Orkney’s flu vaccination is also well underway with it now extended to those in the 60-64 year age range.
The Scottish Government this year made the free NHS flu vaccine available to many more people. The combination of both a person contracting flu and Covid would be extremely dangerous to health.
It will be many months before enough of the population is vaccinated with the Covid19 vaccine for things to gradually ease up but this is certainly very welcome news that those most in need will soon have more protection against Covid.
For citizens , however, we have to keep on keeping on and remember FACTS.
And if you can download the free NHS contact tracing app: Protect Scotland
Reporter: Fiona Grahame