Over 80s still waiting for their vaccine

PHOTO: Leigh Prather/Adobe Stock

Local surgeries across Skye, Lochalsh and Wester Ross remained tight-lipped this week over the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine for those aged 80 and over.

The Free Press contacted surgeries from Dunvegan to Aultbea to establish the current status, however, only one was able to comment.

In an interview given earlier this week to BBC Radio Scotland, Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said that everyone aged 80 or over in Scotland – just under 560,000 people – would receive the Covid-19 vaccine by the “very beginning of February”.

The BBC reported that as of Sunday 10th January, 163,377 Scottish residents had been given the first dose of the vaccine, while National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch said the rollout had so far gone “better than he had expected it to go”.

In a Facebook post published on Monday, Kyle Medical Practice stated: “We do not as yet have any Covid vaccine.

“Once we do, we will be contacting our patients who are over 80 years old first to get them vaccinated.

“The rollout of vaccines will be slow initially but we are told it will pick up by the end of January.”

Meanwhile, a GP from Portree Medical Centre told the Free Press that frontline staff at both the surgery and Portree Hospital had now been vaccinated, and that the surgery were hoping to receive further doses of the vaccine soon for those aged 80 and over.

They said that the staff at the hospital and surgery had received the Pfizer vaccine but due to the temperature it is required to be stored at it wasn’t practical to give that vaccine out to the public. They said the Oxford vaccine would be given to the wider population.

The GP went on to add that residents and staff at both Budhmor care home and Home Farm nursing home in Portree had all been vaccinated.

The Free Press contacted several other medical practices, all of which said they weren’t in a position to comment.

Speaking during Tuesday’s coronavirus briefing, Professor Leitch said while there would be bumps in the road concerning the rollout, it was going very well, adding that residents had shown “joy in receiving the vaccine.”

He also stated that 80 per cent of care homes across the country had now received the first doses of the vaccine across a four-week period.

According to data from the tableau public website — recorded from 3rd January to 9th January – there have been fewer than three cases of Covid-19 in each of the respective areas of Skye north west, Skye north east, south Skye, Lochalsh, and Ross and Cromarty North West.

Over the same period, there have been 513 cases across Highland as a region in which time the seven-day positive rate per 100,000 people has been recorded as 217.5, while the seven-day positivity rate was 8.2 per cent.

Commenting to the Free Press, Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said: “We are currently in a race between the vaccine and the virus.

“Substantial progress has been made and the vaccine is being distributed as quickly as supplies allow.

“I’d strongly encourage anybody with the offer to take the vaccine as it protects you and takes us one step closer to normality.”

At Wednesday’s briefing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said everyone aged over 70 will have been offered vaccination by mid-February.

The aim is to vaccinate all over 65s and those with extreme clinical vulnerability by the end of February.

This means that by the start of March, 1.4 million people will have received at least the first dose of vaccine, Ms Sturgeon said.