NHS Western Isles are sitting at the top of the vaccination programme for numbers of people who have received a vaccine.

The global pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. It’s been a challenge, but for NHS Western Isles, because of their geographical location alone, they’ve had to deal with more than most.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 8:01 am
Fire service and Coastguard staff (pictured above) have all pulled together to ensure the vaccination programme worked.

The difficulties in just getting vaccines onto the islands, transporting them safely under the manufacturer’s strict guidelines, and ensuring there’s been no waste, has been a logistical nightmare at time.

But, despite all the hurdles they’ve had to jump, including some accusations of having been responsible for the hospital outbreak, NHS Western Isles have taken everything in their stride, marching resolutely forward, arranging clinics, ensuring the most vulnerable in our communities have had their vaccination.

But, it’s not just all about the NHS, as good as they’ve been. They could never have achieved it without the help provided by various partner agencies across the islands.

Third party agencies have been vital to the vaccine delivery programme.

These have included:

NHS Western Isles volunteer and core staff; Her Majesty’s Coastguard Agency; Scottish Fire and Rescue; Cabarfeidh Hotel; Lewis Sports Centre; Balivanich Community Hall Committee; Police Scotland; Scottish Ambulance Service; Driver volunteers; Comhairle nan Eilean Siar; University of the Highlands and Islands; No.9 Café; Lochmaddy Hall; Southend Hall Uist; Barra Learning Centre; Tarbert Hall; CalMac and Uist Sea Tours.

NHS Western Isles Chief Executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: “This vaccination programme is a huge team effort and I am so proud and grateful for how so many individuals, agencies and organisations have pulled together to provide support, assistance and kindness.

"Our own staff, from planners to pharmacy; catering to administration; vaccinators to volunteers, have gone way above and beyond the call of duty to make this programme a success. Our partner agencies have dedicated time, support and expertise, without which, we would not have been able to deliver our successful mass clinics.

"All the volunteers and those who have provided either accommodation, services or refreshments, have been vital to the wider team effort and we are so grateful to each and every one involved. We should be very proud as a community.”

Murdo Macaulay of the local HM Coastguard said: “We always club together in the islands to get the job done and this time is no different.

Area Commander Iain MacLeod is the Scottish Fire and Rescue’s Senior Officer for the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

He said: “We are pleased to have been working collaboratively with our partners to ensure people in the Western Isles and in remote locations can receive their vaccinations.

"Our staff have shown a real commitment to providing this service, whilst maintaining a capability to respond to emergencies, and I want to personally thank them for their ongoing efforts.

"We will continue to support the NHS in the Western Isles, as well as our partners and communities wherever possible through this pandemic.”

Remember FACTS: F – Face coverings. A – Avoid crowded places. C – Clean your hands frequently. T – Two metres distancing. S – Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.