Army and health workers help Edinburgh and Lothians vaccination rate to catch up

Edinburgh and the Lothians’ coronavirus vaccination rate is no longer lagging behind the rest of Scotland - following a concerted effort by health chiefs and the British Army to get mass vaccination centres operational.

EICC Vaccination Centre.
EICC Vaccination Centre.

In recent weeks, the four local authority areas covered by NHS Lothian - Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian - have had the worst vaccine rates in the country, with the capital in particular regularly featuring at the foot of the table.

The health board has previously explained this is due to the Scottish government’s policy of vaccinating care home residents and staff first, as the capital has a high number of care homes compared to other public authority areas.

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Health chiefs also pointed to ‘unclear’ guidance from the Scottish Government and supply issues for GP surgeries as contributing factors to the slow vaccine slow roll-out.

However, thanks to the opening of mass vaccination centres throughout the region, NHS Lothian has now leapfrogged the Lanarkshire and Fife health boards in terms of percentage of population vaccinated.

Weekly Public Health Scotland figures, published every Wednesday but compiled on Monday, show that as February 7 NHS Lothian has vaccinated 16.35% (123,536) of its population.

NHS Lothian has procured several vaccination centres:

Edinburgh International Conference Centre – opened its doors on Monday February 1, with 45 vaccination stations and an estimated weekly vaccine capacity of 18,900.

Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh – a drive through vaccination centre opened with the help of the British Army with an estimated weekly vaccine capacity of 5,040.

Pyramids Business Park, West Lothian – set to open on February 15, with an estimated weekly capacity of 14,280.Strathbrock Partnership Centre, West Lothian – open for the first two weeks of February, with an estimated weekly capacity of 2,352.

Edinburgh Park, Gyle (former Royal Bank of Scotland building) – set to open on February 15, with an estimated weekly capacity of 13,440.

Royal Highland Showground – opened its doors on Wednesday February 3 thanks to logistical support from the British Army, with an estimated weekly capacity of 21,000, which can be increased by 3,780 if needed.

Meanwhile, NHS Fife now has the lowest vaccination rate in Scotland, with just 14.64 per cent (45,230) of its population having received their first jag.

Island health boards continue to lead the country in vaccination rates, with the Western Isles (33.60%) and Orkney (26.76%) leading the table, followed closely by Dumfries and Galloway (25.98%).

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