Under 50s in North East Fife are having to make a 90-minute round trip to get their Covid vaccinations.
People are being told to travel to Glenrothes or Methil for their jabs as there is no mass vaccination centre in the area.
For some, it means a drive of more than 50 miles there and back – and for those without a car the journey is proving difficult.
There are currently four Covid vaccination centres in Fife, none of which are in North East Fife.
They are based at:
- The former Marks and Spencer store in Kirkcaldy.
- Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline.
- The Savoy Centre in Methil.
- And the former Argos store in Glenrothes town centre.
There are also eight vaccination centres for under-50s across Tayside.
NHS Fife is considering opening another two centres when it is time to vaccinate the next age group from the end of May.
But North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie says he has received a number of complaints from under-50s who want to be vaccinated closer to home.
NHS could work with the university
Mr Rennie has now called for at least one centre to be set up in the north of the region.
And he has suggested NHS Fife should work with St Andrews University to come up with a building suitable for Covid vaccinations.
The Liberal Democrat MSP said: “The vaccination teams and the NHS have done a good job with the rollout of the vaccine so far but the latest decision has caused a lot of problems for local people.
“Requiring those under 50-years-old to go to Methil or Glenrothes is problematic.
“Many people with busy working lives and families are already stretched to the limit so a 90-minute round trip to a centre is time they cannot afford.”
Move could ‘increase vaccine take-up’
So far, just over 55% of Scotland’s population have received the first dose of the Covid vaccine, and 30% have received their second dose.
Mr Rennie said having a centre closer to home would increase the take-up of the vaccine.
“If it is possible, I’d like more centres, including in the East Neuk too,” he said.
“The university may have underused capacity with the students not on campus at present.
“If that’s not possible perhaps a drive-through facility may be an acceptable alternative like the arrangement at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.”
Vaccination centres ‘kept under review’
St Andrews University said there is no such thing as an underused university building but indicated it is open to discussions.
A spokesman said: “Space in St Andrews is at a premium but we would be very happy to talk with our local authority and NHS partners to see if there might be other, creative ways in which we can help provide a vaccination centre for North East Fife.”
Perhaps a drive-through facility may be an acceptable alternative.
Willie Rennie MSP.
Meanwhile, Scott Garden, NHS Fife’s director of pharmacy and medicine, says vaccination centre locations are kept under review.
“This is to ensure we are able to get access to and safely staff a range of appropriately sized venues that meet the needs of the local population and each priority cohort appointment allocation,” he said.
“For the larger cohort 11 – starting from May 31 – we are currently considering extending our first dose vaccination venues in Fife from four to six.
“We hope to confirm these additional venue locations over the coming week.”
Covid vaccinations were offered in North East Fife for over-50s and those with certain health conditions at Anstruther, Cupar, St Andrews and Tayport.