Ishbel was first through the door for her vaccination at today’s mass clinic.

Ishbel MacAuley, aged 80,from Lewis was the first scheduled resident to receive her Covid-19 vaccine and is encouraging others to receive the vaccine, when invited, saying it was “very important” to get it.

By John A. MacInnes
Thursday, 21st January 2021, 3:04 pm
Vaccination day for Ishbel MacAulay who received her injection from OH Nurse Janet Miskovic
Vaccination day for Ishbel MacAulay who received her injection from OH Nurse Janet Miskovic

Around 460 people from across Lewis were invited to attend vaccination appointments at the Sports Centre today. It was the first clinic held by NHS Western Isles in the Sports Centre, and NHS Western Isles is hugely grateful to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar for the use of these premises and for their support in logistical arrangements.

Today’s clinic provided appointments for those in the over-80 priority group, those aged over-75, and for a number of health and social care staff.

Vaccines will continue next week across the Western Isles, with additional clinics being planned in the Sports Centre.

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Explaining that this was only the second time she has been out of the house since the original lockdown last March, Ishbel, from Sandwick in Lewis, said, “Because of my own health issues I was very keen to receive the vaccination.

“I had previously weighed up the pros and cons of getting it, and decided that as COVID is not going anywhere fast, I needed to get the vaccine to help myself and my family. Previously I had lived abroad for a number of years so was quite used to having various vaccinations, so felt that this was nothing to worry about. It really is just another injection and I’m happy that I’m doing my part to try to control this pandemic. We all need to get back to normal and getting the vaccine will help us all.”

Those attending the Vaccination Clinic are met by volunteers, made up of NHS Western Isles staff and colleagues from the local Coastguard Station, and Police Scotland.

Accompanying Mrs MacAulay was her daughter Leila Angus, who is employed by NHS Western Isles.

Leila explained, “At present I am providing COVID testing on behalf of NHS Western Isles. This, on top of providing care for my mother, means that I do worry about the possibility of her getting COVID. I am delighted that my mother chose to receive the vaccination today and would urge others who are offered theirs to take it.”

Also receiving the vaccine today was Stornoway South Councillor, Rae Mackenzie.

Rae commented: I would firstly like to say I am very grateful to NHS Western Isles. The clinic seems fantastically well organised in here. I didn’t expect to be getting my vaccination as quickly as I’m getting it. I would urge everybody eligible to have the vaccination when they are contacted.

“The Western Isles have done very well up until the unfortunate recent outbreak on Barra, and this just shows the importance of not travelling and taking precautions until everybody has been vaccinated and we are clear of this pandemic.” NHS Western Isles Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson, said: “Firstly, I must thank the staff and all partners involved in planning and delivering our biggest vaccination clinic to date. This was no small task and has involved a great deal of planning and coordination.

The success of today’s clinic is down to these staff and our partners in the Comhairle, the Coastguard, Police Scotland and FES, who all provided essential support, for which we are incredibly grateful. I would also thank all staff involved in the planning and delivery of all the vaccination clinics to date, including our local COVID Vaccination Group. This has been a huge team effort and has resulted in more than 3,000 people being vaccinated across the Western Isles to date.

“Secondly, I would thank everybody who has already attended a vaccination clinic, including everybody who attended today. By having the vaccine, you are not only giving yourself a level of protection, but are also taking an important step towards safeguarding our population and bringing this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible.”