Call For “Patience” in Roll Out of #Covid19 Vaccine in Scotland

Nicola Steedman, Deputy Chief Medical Officer in Scotland, asked the public to please be patient over the roll out of the Pfizer vaccine. 18,644 people had been vaccinated in Scotland with the first installment of the Vaccine by last Sunday.

This amazing accomplishment which sees those most vulnerable vaccinated first has been made possible despite the limitations of transportation. There is a considerable jigsaw of pieces which have to fit together to make it all happen and to insure no vaccine is wasted.

The vaccine has to be stored at a very low temperature and was only available in large packs. The Scottish Government had to get special permission to reduce the size of these packs and to put in place measures which would allow the vaccine to be distributed. The Pfizer vaccine, which was the first one to be approved for general use is an expensive one and therefore care has to be taken that it is not wasted.

Last week we saw the first Health Care workers being vaccinated in Orkney.

The LibDem MSP for Orkney Liam McArthur has raised the issue around the distribution of the vaccine to Orkney’s islands.

Responding to the news that the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine cannot currently be distributed to some island communities, Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur commented:

“When the Pfizer vaccine programme was announced, questions were asked about the practicalities of delivering it to all parts of the country, given the strict storage requirements.  However, I received a stonewall guarantee from the Health Secretary last week that supplies could be safely distributed to our islands, thus ensuring equal access for all priority groups.

“It’s therefore deeply disappointing to learn that some island communities may not now receive this vaccine after all. 

“As well as seeking an update from the Interim Chief Executive of NHS Orkney, I also intend to raise this with the First Minister.

” The Scottish Government needs to provide urgent clarity on the steps being taken to find a solution that will allow all those in the priority category, including people living in our smaller isles, to be vaccinated as previously promised.”

Liam McArthur was unable to ask his question but did raise a point of order yesterday in the Scottish Parliament:

On a point of order, Presiding Officer. Last week, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport assured me that islanders would have equal access to the Pfizer vaccine to people in the rest of the country. It now appears that, as a result of transport difficulties, that will not be the case for those who live on the smaller islands of Orkney and Shetland. As there was nothing on that in the First Minister’s statement, I wonder whether she might have an opportunity at some point to update Parliament on how islanders in my constituency and Shetland will have equal access to the Government’s on-going vaccination programme.

The Pfizer vaccine as well as having transport issues also has various other logistical considerations to be in place. As people require to have two doses (28 days apart) 50% of the vaccine available has to be retained for that purpose. There also has to be a 15 minute observational period after the dose is given.

Caution has also been urged in that it is not known if having been vaccinated that it will stop the transmission of the Covid19 virus. That research is still ongoing.

Everything also rests on the supply of the vaccine (taking into account everyone needs two doses of it).

There may soon be other vaccines available but before any of that happens we should all remain vigilant for this virus is very infectious and we have been fortunate in Orkney that reported positive cases have remained relatively low.

Guidance for the Christmas period can be found here: Coronavirus (Covid-19) Christmas

The NHS contact tracing app is free to download: Protect Scotland

You can find out more about the vaccine here: Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine

And here are the stats for Scotland (16th December 2020)

  • 689 new cases of COVID-19 reported
  • 38 new reported death(s) of people who have tested positive
  • 49 people were in intensive care yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 1,031 people were in hospital yesterday with recently confirmed COVID-19
  • 13,825 new tests for COVID-19 that reported results – 5.9% of these were positive

Since the start of the outbreak:

  • 4,173 people have died who have tested positive
  • 6,092 deaths have been registered in Scotland where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate up to 13 December
  • 40% of COVID-19 registered deaths related to deaths in care homes, 53% were in hospitals and 6% were at home or non-institutional settings (as at 13 December)
white puzzle piece on red textile
Photo by Mike van Schoonderwalt on

4 replies »

  1. As someone who is not a healthy person, and who, since March, hasn’t gone anywhere indoors where there are people – in particular unknown people – going out for walks, yes, but only going once to Wellpark Garden Centre for plants – which is mostly outside – I am now going to rabbit on a bit.

    That there is a vaccine is a VERY GOOD THING. I intend to simply wait until I’m called to the surgery to have my jab ( my two jabs – I hope that folk remember that, and don’t act silly when they’ve had one). I will remind the doctor that I have a lot of allergies, a generally wrecked immune system etc. etc. Also, that the ‘flu jab used to make me unwell for about 3 days, so much so, that I stopped having it – just tried to avoid catching ‘flu. I’m very much hoping the Covid jab won’t have a similar result. Basically, I feel pretty rough most of the time, and hugely resent anything which knocks me back – can’t be helped sometimes, but – I do resent it.
    Which leads neatly on to the next thing.

    The precautions we should all be taking to avoid Covid, means that we are avoiding other infections, such as ‘flu, as well. That’s the way to deal with this situation – continue to avoid contact as much as you can. Some will find this more difficult than others, but – we all know the FACTS – the list of things to do to make contact as ’harmless’ as possible – stick to that list!

    Face coverings Avoid crowded places Clean your hands regularly Two metre distance Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.

    We will only eliminate Covid, by taking action which strikes at its root – transmission from person to person.

    And…does it need saying? The more folk that have been fully vaccinated, the safer it makes it for everyone, so those who are still waiting should be less in danger than they would have been.

    It’s something I say again and again, regarding a lot of situations – TIME AND PATIENCE.
    Getting ratty at your doctor or the NHS, serves no purpose – they will be doing the best they can.
    I’ll wait until I’m called.

    And, before anyone has a go at me for saying these things – no, I’m not qualified, I’m not a medical person – but yes, I am vulnerable. Among other things which are amiss in my system, I don’t breath easily at the best of times. If I caught Covid, I think I’d just…….drown. So, if I can see it this way, have patience and wait, and follow the rules – most folk can.

  2. It is disappointing to see the misuse of words such in: “and to insure no vaccine is wasted.”. To insure is taking out an insurance policy on a car, horse or other possession. To “ensure no vaccine is wasted” is the phrase that should have been used, as in to “make sure” none is wasted. Basic grammar which should have been corrected by your proofreaders.

    • Not ideal… but I guess everyone noticed that this can only have been a typo (and not really worth discussing).
      Anyway, I can’t really see what appeared to be the problem. We know that the Pfizer vaccine has a few days of shelf life at ‘normal’ temperatures. Island GPs only have a few eligible patients. So it would have been rather easy to identify the handful of eligible on each island, arrange vaccination time slots/appointments in advance and have only the required doses sent out just in time (with the islander plane) for the day. As it had been reported, on mainland Orkney there was a supply of the vaccine. Surely, this supply could have included the doses for the islands? Given our low population numbers in the isles it should not take any GP practice long to list the few people eligible (and willing) for the first round and schedule time slots.
      Logic, common sense and basic organisational skills… are these lacking in NHS admin as well as in the Scottish government?

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