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Vaccine service to return to Nairn after fears patients would need to travel to Inverness

The clinics have previously been held at Nairn Healthcare Group’s GP surgery at the Nairn and County Hospital.
The clinics have previously been held at Nairn Healthcare Group’s GP surgery at the Nairn and County Hospital.

A vaccination clinic will be held in Nairn next week after concerns were raised patients would have to travel to Inverness for booster jags.

Politicians joined local people in criticising a decision to ask people to travel to a clinic set up in the Eastgate Shopping Centre this month.

Covid vaccines were provided at the Nairn Healthcare Group’s GP surgery at the Nairn and County Hospital until January.

Concerns over travel

The change led to fears about elderly people having difficulty making the round trip of nearly 40 miles.

But NHS Highland says a clinic will now be held in Nairn.

A spokesman said: “Inverness is currently the closest vaccination centre to Nairn, but we continue to review our capacity and are actively establishing plans to hold clinics in other locations, such as Nairn.

“There will be a clinic in Nairn next week and details will be published on our website shortly.”

Emma Roddick says NHS Highland has “listened to reason”

Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick said she is glad the health board has “listened to reason”.

She said: “It is clear that those most in need of extra protection are those most likely to face difficulty travelling, so this is the right decision.

“If we want to make our communities as safe as possible, it is vital that the most vulnerable can access vaccines easily and near to where they live.

“I will continue to press for local clinics for my Nairn constituents.”

MSP Rhoda Grant said: “Those being offered boosters at this stage are the most vulnerable and will be the least able to travel long distances.

“It is unacceptable that people in this group are being asked to travel from Nairn to Inverness, from Caithness to Ross-shire.”

Dr Adrian Baker, a senior partner in Nairn Healthcare Group, said: “We received a lot of negative feedback from patients.

“We ran a successful vaccination campaign, with over 26,000 Covid vaccines delivered. This appears to be a decision that was taken centrally.

Ready to provide vaccines locally

“We are ready willing and able to continue to provide vaccination for our patients in Nairn.”

One Nairn resident who contacted the P&J with concerns, welcomed the move.

She said: “A lot of people were upset by this. But hopefully it’s been sorted out and there is to be a local clinic.”

This week NHS Grampian admitted around 4,000 people aged 75 and over were sent to the wrong vaccine centre following an “unexplained blip” in their booking system.

A similar problem arose in the Highlands with one 92-year-old man from Thurso given an appointment in Tain, which would have meant a 150-mile round trip for a fourth jab.

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