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Wick man tells of 'sheer frustration' over wait for first vaccine

By Alan Hendry

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Dave Whitelaw: 'I don’t blame Riverview but something has to be wrong here.'
Dave Whitelaw: 'I don’t blame Riverview but something has to be wrong here.'

A 40-year-old Wick man is seeking answers as to why he hasn't yet had a Covid-19 vaccine while people much younger than him have already received their first dose.

Offshore worker Dave Whitelaw says there must be something wrong with Scotland's vaccination programme if teenagers in some parts of the country are being given jabs while he is still waiting.

Mr Whitelaw says he has been told by his medical practice, Riverview at Wick Medical Centre, that it does not yet have vaccines for patients in his age group – those who were 18-39 at the end of March this year. He turned 40 in April.

He spoke of his "sheer frustration" that people younger than him in the Highlands – and teenagers in the central belt – are receiving first doses.

"Riverview said their cut-off for ‘40 and over’ for the purposes of administering doses was the end of March, so I am ostensibly 39 for administration purposes," said Mr Whitelaw, a lead engineer for a service company involved in drilling.

"Plenty of other folk under 40 in the north of Scotland are getting theirs.

"I don’t blame Riverview – if they don’t have the doses, they don’t have the doses. But something has to be wrong here for 18-year-olds to be getting it down south while I’m sitting here at 40 – if only just – basically begging Riverview for a first dose and they are saying they can’t."

In a social media post this week, the Riverview practice announced that patients aged 18-39 at March 31 who do not come under any other risk group will be given their Covid vaccination by a mobile vaccination unit located at the town's Riverside car park.

The practice said patients would receive a letter from the national booking team with their appointment details.

A spokesperson for NHS Highland said today: "Riverview practice in Wick is working in partnership with NHS Highland to deliver the Covid vaccination programme to their eligible population in line with national timelines.

"The practice is concentrating on delivering both first and second vaccines to the over-40 age group and those in the identified higher risk categories.

"We have agreed with the practice that additional support will be provided to vaccinate patients aged 18-39. This is similar to support offered to other practices across NHS Highland.

"The mobile vaccination unit has been used successfully across many Highland locations and will only be on site in Wick on June 15, 22 and 23, and July 10 and 11. Additional dates will be shared with the public to ensure all patients are offered a vaccine.

"We would also encourage everyone to check their practice website / social media for information."

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