Isles vaccination programme success

Over three quarters of the population of the Western Isles have now received their first vaccination dose, with a third having received their second.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 1:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 2:00 pm

It puts the islands way ahead of the national average and testament to a local health board who have clearly made it a top priority and able to mobilise a team of willing volunteers, with fire-fighters and coastguards on hand to assist health professionals in rolling out the programme.

Last week, the health board issued a call for the over-35s to come forward and get their first vaccination, while good progress is also being made on delivering the second doses to those that need.

Gordon Jamieson, Chief Executive, NHSWI, said: “The Vaccination Programme in the Western Isles is going exceptionally well, with 77.5 per cent of eligible adults now having received their first dose, and 33.8 per cent of those having now received both doses.

“The campaign in the Western Isles is a huge team effort, from the staff who manage the complicated planning of this mass vaccination programme and administer the vaccine; to the individuals, groups and voluntary organisations who are essential to ensure the clinics run smoothly.”

He added: “Our excellent uptake is also as a result of the willingness of our local communities to take the vaccine to protect both themselves and others, and we thank our local communities for working with us and attending their appointments.”

Mr Jamieson said that “as the islands prepare to welcome more visitors” it was vital that everyone eligible came forward for the vaccination.

"As more people are vaccinated, there is a higher risk of people carrying the virus, without showing any symptoms - but still with the potential to pass it on to others,” he said. “That is why it is extremely important that we all continue to follow safety precautions, including hand hygiene, physical distancing and wearing a face mask or face covering, and also to self-isolate and arrange a test if you develop any symptoms, regardless of how mild.”

Last week Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader Roddy MacKay called for an additional relaxation of the rules in the islands as the data demonstrated they could be dealt with more “proportionately”.