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)