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Deserted Fife shops to be turned into vaccination centres

Kirkcaldy High Street.
Kirkcaldy High Street.

Deserted Fife retail units are to be transformed into Covid-19 vaccination centres.

Four “large scale venues” will be set up in the region as the vaccination programme is extended to the under-50s.

Empty shops

Vacant retail units in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes are being considered as potential locations, in addition to venues in Dunfermline and Levenmouth.

Kirkcaldy has a number of large vacant retail units which could be used for the town’s new vaccination centre.

In a report to next week’s meeting of NHS Fife Board, chief pharmacist Ben Hannan said: “These four large scale venues will be used alongside a subset of the existing community clinics in remote areas.

“The project team are cognisant of the balance of accessibility and operational delivery required.”

Those in higher priority groups who have already received a first dose will return to existing venues “to ensure continuity”, said the report.

Four out of 10 Fifers vaccinated

By mid-March around 150,000 of Fife’s population of 370,000 – 40% – had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Despite much publicised failings in the booking system, which led to vulnerable Fifers waiting outdoors in freezing conditions for hours, the region is now exceeding the national target for vaccinating its citizens.

NHS Fife said the “over-booking issues” in February had been linked to a problem with the national scheduling system.

“The Moderna vaccine, which is due to be available in the UK in April, will not be provided to NHS Fife.”

Chief pharmacist Ben Hannan

Meanwhile, Fife will not be receiving any supplies of the Moderna vaccine any time soon.

The Moderna vaccine is only being made available in three Scottish health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Grampian.

This was said to be because of “constrained initial supply levels, and
logistical requirements”.

Assurances over vaccine safety

Health and social care staff have already been given the Pfizer vaccine.

With the Oxford AstraZeneca jab being used on the wider population, Mr Hannan said there was “robust assurance” that it was safe, after concerns were raised over blood clots and efficacy data.

“There has been widespread media coverage of decisions by neighbouring countries to pause use of the AstraZeneca product, based on perceived concerns regarding blood clotting,” said Mr Hannan.


‘Robust assurance’

“The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has provided robust assurance on the safety of the vaccine and is clear that the available evidence does not suggest that are caused by Covid-19 vaccine AstraZeneca.

“This follows a detailed review of report cases as well as data from hospital admissions and GP records.”

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