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Covid vaccinations to start in Caithness this weekend


By Jean Gunn

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General practitioner vaccinating old patient in private clinic with copy space. Doctor giving injection to senior woman at hospital. Nurse holding syringe and using cotton before make Covid-19 or coronavirus vaccine.
General practitioner vaccinating old patient in private clinic with copy space. Doctor giving injection to senior woman at hospital. Nurse holding syringe and using cotton before make Covid-19 or coronavirus vaccine.

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Caithness community is due to get under way this weekend.

Thurso and Halkirk Medical Practice said a clinic for people aged 80 or over would be held on Saturday in the games hall at Thurso High School.

Welcoming the news, Dr Alison Brooks, who recently voiced her concern about the delay in local vaccinations, said: "The doctors and staff of Thurso and Halkirk Medical Practice are delighted to be starting the vaccine ball rolling – protecting our most vulnerable patients in the community is paramount."

She reassured patients that there would be ample parking and access near the games hall at the school and that two volunteers would be on hand to help direct patients when they arrive.

The practice has been busy making preparations for the clinic and a number of patients, aged 80 and over on March 31, 2021, were contacted by phone on Monday about their appointments.

Dr Alison Brooks outside the Princes Street surgery after a recent cheque presentation from the Thurso branch of the RNLI.
Dr Alison Brooks outside the Princes Street surgery after a recent cheque presentation from the Thurso branch of the RNLI.

Patients are urged not to call the surgery to book an appointment at this stage, however, if they are eligible and have not been contacted by Friday this week they should contact the receptionist.

Those attending for appointments should stay in their car if they arrive early and make sure they have a short sleeved top under their outer clothing with easy access to their arm.

Dr Brooks said staff were all looking forward to the day.

Meanwhile at the Riverside Medical Practice, Wick, doctors were yesterday still awaiting confirmation of when they would receive delivery of the vaccination.

As of Monday, 175,942 people across Scotland had received their first vaccine dose, according to the most recent figures from the Scottish Government, while 2857 had also received their second dose.

The first vaccine was given in Scotland on December 8, and people are being vaccinated in order according to advice from the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This says that health and social care workers, older residents in care homes, care home staff and those over 80 should receive the vaccine first.

Some ampoules with clear liquid. The vials contain Covid-19 vaccine. The vials are placed in a laboratory against a blue background
Some ampoules with clear liquid. The vials contain Covid-19 vaccine. The vials are placed in a laboratory against a blue background

A spokeswoman for NHS Highland told the Caithness Courier: "NHS Highland has well developed plans, based on national guidance, for the continued rollout of our Covid vaccination programme. As per the guidance we have been initially targeting the key priority groups including care home residents and staff and health and care staff who are working with Covid-positive patients. This has included general practitioners.

"We have received our first delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine which has been earmarked for delivery in general practice. Clinics have commenced in general practice this week using both vaccines with a focus on people aged over 80. Practices across the NHS Highland area are implementing individualised plans on how and where is best to administer the vaccine.

"There is no need to contact your practice as they will contact you when it is time to get your vaccine."

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman this week stated that everyone aged 80 or over in Scotland – almost 560,000 people – will be given the Covid vaccine by February.

And national clinical director Jason Leitch confirmed yesterday that 80 per cent of care homes had already been vaccinated in four weeks.


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