NHS Highland has announced a third of the region’s adult population has received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The milestone was reached on Monday, the health board said, when they vaccinated the 87,698th person in the Highlands and Argyll and Bute.
That figure includes more than 95% of those aged over 80 and over 75, and almost 85% of those aged over 70.
In care homes, all first doses were given out ahead of schedule, and NHS Highland said they are planning to have offered every care home their second vaccine dose by the end of next month.
‘The work is extraordinary’
Pam Dudek, Chief Executive of NHS Highland, said: “The work being carried out by GP colleagues to vaccinate the general population is extraordinary with additional clinics being held in the evenings and at weekends to ensure the programme continues to meet targets.
“We have our local teams vaccinating colleagues across health and social care with help from the Scottish Ambulance Service and their mobile unit.
“There are also a number of teams working behind the scenes teams who are doing everything they can to support the roll out of the programme.”
She added: “Thanks must also go to our partners across the NHS Highland area including the Highland Council and Argyll and Bute Council who have provided support in various ways to keep the programme on track.
“We have had support with offers of buildings to assist our GPs, volunteers to help with marshalling and even a snow plough from the team at Dounreay to ensure the vaccine could reach its destination.”
Over-65s in the area are now beginning to receive their invitations to attend vaccine appointments, with NHS Highland planning to complete the group by the end of the month.
Hopes of return to normality
Professor Boyd Robertson, Chair of NHS Highland, said: “This is a massive undertaking and the challenge really cannot be overstated.
“It is thanks to the unstinting efforts of everyone involved throughout NHS Highland that we have been able to deliver the amount of vaccine we have across our vast territory stretching from Wick and Thurso in the north to Campbeltown and Helensburgh in the south and from Tiree in the west to Nairn in the east.”
He added: “I would also like to thank members of the public who have been coming forward in their thousands to take up the offer of the vaccination.
“This has been a very challenging time for us all but it is vital that we remain focused on rolling out the vaccination programme and, hopefully, restoring a semblance of normal life beyond the pandemic.”
Scotland set a new record for the number of second doses given out in the past day, with 3,760 people receiving their final jag.