More than 200,000 people in NHS Ayrshire & Arran have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine as part of the local vaccination programme.
The milestone was reached as the vaccination programme entered its fourth month, with the first vaccinations given locally on 8 December 2020.
To date 204,178* people have been vaccinated in Ayrshire and 32,803 people have completed both of their doses.
Joint Director of Public Health Lynne McNiven said:
“The uptake has been tremendous and we can see the positive impact the vaccination programme is having in our communities, with fewer hospitalisations and lower transmission levels. The best way to maximise the efficacy of the vaccine is to have both doses, so I would really encourage everyone offered an appointment for that second vaccine takes the opportunity to do so.
“The vaccination programme is the largest of its kind we have ever delivered and it has come about thanks to the hard work of an army of vaccinators and support staff from the health and social care work force. The effort has been vast and it is hugely appreciated.”
The national guidelines are to receive the second dose of vaccine within 12 weeks of the first. At the moment Ayrshire residents aged 65 to 79 are being invited back to mass vaccination clinics to receive their second dose. Getting both doses means your protection against COVID-19 increases and everyone is encouraged to take up the offer when their appointment letter lands.
Second doses have already been offered to care home residents, health and social care workers and the over 80s living in the community. GPs are currently working through those in the shielding group and housebound patients around Ayrshire.
Locally the board is currently using two of the vaccines authorised for use in the UK, the Pfizer BioNtech and the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) issued updated information on very rare side effects for AstraZeneca vaccine recently and as a result adults under 30 will be offered an alternative vaccine, if available.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nicola Steedman said:
“Following the statements by the MHRA and the JCVI we want to stress that the evidence shows that, overall, the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks and it continues to be a safe and effective vaccine.
“However, the Scottish Government will follow the JCVI recommendation to offer alternative vaccines to adults under 30 without underlying health conditions.
“We have two other vaccines which have been authorised by the MHRA currently in use – Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna – and others should become available in the future.
“We continue to urge anyone offered a vaccination to take up their appointment. Everyone who has received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive their second dose as this gives greater and longer lasting protection against the virus. This is with the exception of the very few individuals who have had a blood clot with low platelet counts after their first injection, or an allergic reaction.
“The vaccination programme is one of three key ways we are working to beat this virus, along with our expanded testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission and the important restrictions everyone in Scotland must follow. All these measures work to greatest effect to protect people when they work together.”