People living and working in care homes in Dundee, Angus and Perthshire will begin to be vaccinated this week, NHS Tayside have confirmed.
Following on from NHS Fife’s announcement that their vaccination programme began on Monday, Courier Country’s other health board revealed on Monday night that they are ready to begin inoculating care home staff and residents this week.
The Pfizer vaccine is on its way to health board and the first vaccinations will be administered on Wednesday.
With more than 8,000 people to receive the injection, the process is expected to take weeks to complete.
Emma Fletcher, Director of Public Health explained that this is “the biggest vaccination programme ever undertaken” and it is important that it’s treated as “a marathon, not a sprint.”
She said: “Following on from last week’s successful launch of the vaccination roll-out to frontline health and social care workers in Tayside, this week sees the first jabs delivered to care home residents and staff.
“The mass vaccination programme in care homes starts this Wednesday and residents in Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee will receive the Pfizer vaccine from NHS Tayside staff this week.
“This is a real milestone in our response to COVID-19 and the phased roll-out will see more than 8000 residents and staff vaccinated over the coming weeks.
“The extent of the work undertaken to get us to this point cannot be underestimated and it is the product of a lot of effort from many teams in the NHS, Health and Social Care Partnerships and care homes themselves.”
Dr Fletcher said she “strongly encourages” all eligible care home residents and staff to take up the offer of the vaccine.
Once again, she urged members of the public to stick to the guidance issued while the vaccination programme is rolled out.
On Monday, 90-year-old Annie Innes from Abercorn House Care Home in Hamilton became the first care home resident in Scotland to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
Ms Innes said it was “wonderful” to get the jab before Christmas.
The former carer, who has been living in at the South Lanarkshire residential home for six months, said she was relieved to have been offered the jab.
She said: “It’s wonderful to get the vaccine before Christmas.
“I hope it keeps me, my friends here and the staff safe and means we can get back to normal very soon.
“The nurses and the care home staff have been great with us and we are relieved to have been offered the vaccine.”
The programme comes after thousands of NHS staff were given their first doses of the vaccine – which needs two separate injections weeks apart – as a huge nationwide campaign began last week.
The Pfizer vaccine must initially be stored at minus 70 C before being thawed out but it can now be “packed down” into smaller batches that can be taken to care homes with “minimal wastage,” as supplies allow.