COVID-19 Vaccinations Start In Forth Valley

Covid-19 vaccinations will begin in Forth Valley on Tuesday 8th December 2020 with frontline health and social care staff along with care home workers set to the first to receive the initial supplies of the new Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine at clinics taking place at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. Separate arrangements are being made to vaccinate local care home residents across Forth Valley from 14th December 2020.

In order to ensure those most at risk are protected as early as possible, the initial vaccine supply for the first two weeks is being prioritised for frontline health and care staff working in the highest risk areas and those caring for the most vulnerable and critically ill patients, in line with national guidance. Plans are also being made to vaccinate other priority groups in the first phase including people aged 80 and over who will be invited to clinics at a number of GP practices and other community venues across Forth Valley.

Everyone being vaccinated will be given two appointments as two doses of the vaccine are required for it to be fully effective, which are given between 21 and 28 days apart.

The distribution and delivery arrangements will be dependent upon the different characteristics and criteria for the individual vaccines which are expected to be approved for use in the coming weeks and months. Some, such as the initial Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine, has to be stored at extremely low temperatures around -70C, while others will be able to be stored in pharmacy fridges which will enable them to be delivered from a wider range of community venues.

NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Pharmacy, Scott Mitchell, is encouraging people to take up the offer of the Covid-19 vaccine as it continues to be rolled out over the next few months. He said: “The initial priority groups will start to be offered a free Covid-19 vaccine over the next few weeks and I would urge all local people who are eligible to get vaccinated to help protect themselves during the ongoing pandemic.

“Our priority is to protect the most vulnerable as soon as possible and roll out the vaccine to other groups over the coming months to help drive down rates to the lowest level possible as we work towards eliminating the virus completely. However, in the meantime, we all need to continue to protect ourselves and others by following the national guidance on the use of face coverings, hand sanitiser and physical distancing.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who are not in the initial priority groups for their patience as we protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and those frontline health and care staff most at risk first, in line with the national scientific and clinical guidance. We are already working on our local plans to roll out the vaccine to a wider group of people as soon as this is possible.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This is the best news than any of us have heard about the virus since the pandemic began.

“The global scientific, research and pharmaceutical community has come together and worked as never before. That is why we are seeing this front running vaccine delivered in months rather than years, but it is not at the expense of safety.

“For all the difficulties that lie ahead, the arrival of the first vaccine should give us all real hope that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon.”

All vaccines that are made available to the general public have been through a series of rigorous clinical trials to test for safety and efficiency. Safety monitoring is key component of all stages of vaccine development and continues after a vaccine has been approved for use. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors the safety of all vaccines and medicines on a UK wide basis and only vaccines which have gone through all the required clinical trials and received the necessary regulatory approvals will be used.

A new Scottish Covid-19 vaccination helpline will be launched on Tuesday 8th December 2020 to answer any queries people maybe have about the programme. It can be contacted on 0800 030 8013 from 8.00am to 8.00pm 7 days a week. Further information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme can also be found on national NHS Inform