More than 25,000 of Fife’s most vulnerable people have received their Covid-19 vaccinations with NHS Fife “on track” to meet the demands for the roll out in its battle to beat the coronavirus, say heath bosses.
That’s the message from Scott Garden, Director of Pharmacy and Medicine for NHS Fife, who said the region’s vaccination programme continues to “develop apace” with increased numbers of newly recruited and redeployed staff now in placed to ramp up issue of the vaccine in the coming weeks.
“It’s a fast moving and complex programme which has taken a huge amount of planning but with the first vaccinations now completed in all of the region’s care homes and the programme having begun for vaccinating the over-80s cohort through GP practices, we are on track,” Mr Garden told the NHS Fife board meeting on Wednesday.
“The Scottish Government has provided direction on pace of delivery which NHS Fife is well placed to meet in a robust and safe manner, subject to available supply of the vaccine.”
Mr Garden confirmed that the priority to offer the most vulnerable and at risk including care home residents and staff had now been offered first doses, while in cohort 2, the over 80s at local GP practices as well frontline health and social care workers, would be vaccinated by February 5.
Being one of the first health boards to sign up to the Scottish Government’s vaccine deployment plan, Mr Garden also outlined further aspects of the vaccination programme for Fife in the coming weeks.
Those aged 75-80 and 70-75 in cohorts three and four, which amounts to around 32,000 Fifers, will be vaccinated by mid-February while those in cohort five, aged 65-70, approximately 21,000 individuals, are to be vaccinated by early March
Following that, Mr Garden confirmed that those at high risk aged 16-64 and all those aged over 50, (cohorts six – nine) will receive their first vaccination by early May with vaccinations for people in those cohorts beginning in March.
Supply of the Pfizer vaccine to its four clinic sites at Victoria, Queen Margaret, St Andrews and Randolph Wemyss hospitals is understood to have been delivered as expected, however, Mr Garden admitted access to the AZ/Oxford vaccine had been “limited”.
“To date, the Board has been receiving at most seven days’ notice of available supply, which makes planning challenging however this is expected to improve shortly,” said Mr Garden.
He added that delays in distributing the vaccine would be greatly improved in the coming weeks once Fife’s vaccine holding centres, situated at Victoria and Queen Margaret hospital’s in Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline respectfully, would allow much better agility to react and plans for next day delivery to meet specific demands.
Praise was also given to the military personnel enlisted to assist the creation of 12 community vaccination clinics which are being finalised across the whole of Fife to ensure NHS Fife continue to meet the demands of the vaccination roll out.
Tricia Marwick, NHS Fife chairman, paid tribute to the continuing efforts to set up and deliver the vaccination programme.
“It’s unlikely any us have ever experienced such a situation as has been brought on by this pandemic,” said Mrs Marwick.
“It’s been a sterling effort by staff from all sectors of the NHS Fife that have continuously stepped up to meet the challenges presented to them on a daily basis.”