Vaccination is still the best way of protecting yourself against severe COVID-19 illness.

The Covid-19 virus continues to impact the delivery of health and social care services and whilst that is the case here at The Orkney News we will strive to keep our readers informed.

Public Health Scotland report that on the week ending 4th of June there were 96 acute Covid-19 admissions into hospitals. A fall from the previous week where the number was 124.

There were 111 patients in hospital with Covid-19. However, there was a change to inpatient definition from 08 May 2023 (max number 10 days). The previous week there had been 134 patients in hospital with Covid.

There were 4 patients in ICU with Covid.

Number of inpatients with COVID-19 in hospital

On 7th of June NHS Orkney was able to announce the following:

“In Patients 2 (IP2) has now reopened to all visitors following a closure due to a Covid outbreak. We are still experiencing pressures across the system with limited bed capacity.

We continue to urge the community to seek the right care, in the right place. Please do visit NHS Inform,  for advice and guidance. Visit your pharmacy for minor ailments or phone your GP Practice if required. For out of hours, call NHS 111. If you are acutely unwell, please call 999 or attend the Emergency Department (ED)”

Monitoring of waste water is another tool in tracking the prevalence of the virus in local communities. The report for Kirkwall , 29th May 2023, continues to show a positive number.

Vaccination has been crucial in reducing the severity of Covid-19 , for most people. In the Spring vaccination programme , 450,738 people in Scotland have been vaccinated. Those eligible for vaccine were: people aged 75+; older Care Home residents; those with weakened immune systems. The uptake in Orkney has been 76.4% (2,366). The highest uptake has been in The Borders at 82.2% and the lowest is in Fife at 64.5%.

NHS Orkney is offering Drop-in Vaccination Clinics

If you have received a letter and haven’t managed to attend a clinic, you have a weakened immune system and think you may be eligible for a vaccine or you want a first, second or third COVID-19 vaccine you can find more information by visiting or calling the National Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013.

We are offering drop in clinics at The Balfour on:

  • Mondays 12, 19 & 26 June from 1.20pm – 3pm
  • Tuesdays 13, 20 & 27 June from 09.30am – 11am

Fiona Grahame

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  1. ‘Vaccination is still the best way of protecting yourself against severe COVID-19 illness’

    It certainly is…: an important part of the toolkit.

    But… there are many people who (for other medical reasons) could not get the vaccine or may not have developed a satisfactory immune response and hence may not have the same level of protection (in some European countries this was tested, in the UK it was not).
    Whilst we are going into the summer, seasonality kicks in… with all its direct (such as less favourable conditions for the virus to persist in the environment) as well as indirects effects (such as more mingling outdoors instead of indoors etc.) and nobody really wants to think about the “waning” of protection, narrowing of (booster) eligibility, again unused time windows for autumn preparation (for example better ventilation in schools) and so forth.

    We might be very very lucky and not see nasty changes in the virus evolution happening under the radar (possibly abroad where the access to vaccines was limited), but we should keep in mind that it is not to everyone’s liking to serve as some kind of a “sentinel animal”… should this virus decide to outwit us (again) and pose more hefty challenges in autumn/winter (again). The capabilities of this virus have surprised us repeatedly and we can only hope that it is running out of steam at some point. But public health isn’t built on luck… well, it shouldn’t be. The jury is still out whether a head in the sand tactic can ever be justified. This tactic has failed us since early 2020 and even now is burdened with risks.

    There are some of us (myself included) who prefer to err on the side of caution. Some might continue to reduce or avoid contacts and/or wear masks and/or even continue shielding. These are personal choices made following personal and individual risk assessments. And these choices must be respected.

    The toolkit against Covid-19 consists of vaccines as well as other/additional measures.
    And as with any other toolkit: you make a choice which tools are appropriate for individual situations and needs.

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