NHS Fife is preparing to vaccinate 19,000 people against coronavirus from as early as next month.
The over 80s and people in care homes will be among the first to receive the potentially-lifesaving vaccine in “the single largest public health intervention in modern times”.
Frontline health and social care workers and unpaid carers will also be prioritised in the first phase of the vaccination’s roll-out.
Thousands of others will receive it next year as the programme is gradually extended.
NHS Fife submitted the first draft of its Covid-19 vaccination plan to the Scottish Government on November 11 and hopes to begin in December.
It said lessons had been learned from the launch of its flu vaccination programme, which saw phone lines jammed as 75,000 people tried to book appointments at once.
This time letters will be sent out in batches to prevent a repeat of the debacle.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said last week that every person over the age of 18 in Scotland will eventually be able to receive the jab, and that an initial workforce of more than 2,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists will be ready before February
NHS Fife chairwoman Tricia Marwick said the vaccination had the potential to improve lives but there should be no false expectations.
“The priority is for older folk, folk in care homes but for other people it isn’t going to be in December and it probably won’t be in January either,” she said.
“We need to ask people to be patient with this.
“We will go as fast as is humanly possible and go with all the resources we’ve got.
“There should not be false expectations that everybody can just turn up and get a vaccine.
“That’s not how it’s going to work.”
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Freezers have already been installed to store the vaccine, which must be kept at a temperature of minus 70 degrees centigrade.
Work to organise venues, staff and other crucial arrangements is ongoing.
Venues could include pop-up clinics, GP surgeries and community pharmacies.
Vice-chairman, Dr Les Bisset, said the situation was fluid with a number of points yet to be finalised.
He added however: “We are assured that in relation to phase one, the team is prepared for this.
“Bearing in mind that the first phase relates to about 19,000 people – that’s a significantly lower number than the 75,000 we dealt with initially with the flu vaccine.
“We expect it to be a relatively smooth process, taking account of the unknowns.”
NHS Fife non-executive director Martin Black hailed the planning already done to make the programme possible.
“This could well be lifesaving and could get us back to some form of normality,” he said.
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