Covid in Scotland: First health board invites under-30s for vaccine

The Western Isles has become the first health board to invite the 18 to 29 age group for Covid-19 vaccination.

With a population of around 27,000 people, the Western Isles has been the fastest board to vaccinate in terms of population.

Almost 83 per cent of the adult population have now been given a first dose, with 47 per cent given a second.

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In Scotland as a whole, 62 per cent of adults have been given a first dose and 29 per cent a second.

Lynsey Mackenzie, the first person in the Western Isles to receive the vaccine.

The second-fastest health board has been NHS Orkney, with 78 per cent of adults given a first dose, followed by NHS Shetland, at 74 per cent.

NHS Western Isles chief executive Gordon Jamieson said last week the health board planned to accelerate the vaccination programme, ahead of an offer for all those over 18 without a first dose to come forward.

“We are looking at strengthening and maximising our vaccination team, as it is our intention to accelerate the vaccination programme for all adults,” he said.

In an update on Sunday evening, Mr Jamieson said: "We delivered just over 435 vaccinations today, which brings our total for the weekend to just under 1,200 vaccinations.

"The programme will continue for the coming weeks, and in the next week if you are 18 years of age or over and wish to arrange for that first and important vaccination, please telephone us or email and leave your details and we will get back to you. I would urge you if you wish to have the vaccination to please make contact.”

More than 80 per cent of 40 to 49-year-olds in the Western Isles have had a dose of vaccine, along with more than 60 per cent of over-30s.

Across the whole of Scotland, almost everyone aged over 55 has been given a first dose, with the 50 to 54 cohort nearing completion at 92 per cent.

These groups are considered complete across Scotland by the Scottish Government, but a nationwide move to under-50s has not yet been made.

Just under 100,000 Scots with underlying health conditions, scheduled before under-50s in terms of vaccination priority, are still to receive a first dose.

Chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith has previously said he expects Scotland’s vaccination programme to pick up pace in May, after a period of limited supply decimated daily figures.

Daily first doses picked up slightly to between 5,000 and 9,000 per day last week, after record lows the week before dropping to as low as 2,300 first doses in one day.

As a result of the supply drop second doses have been prioritised, with around 40,000 doses a day.

Health boards have urged people to turn up to their second dose appointments.

“Uptake for second doses has been fantastic – we just want to make sure that everyone who received a first dose in the first half of February comes forward now for their second vaccination,” said NHS Ayrshire and Arran interim director of public health Lynne McNiven.

Dr Mark Russell, lead for the vaccination programme in Lanarkshire, said last week the health board aimed to scale up its vaccination programme, delivering 7,000 doses a day across all clinics.

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