Drop in Covid vaccinations at Royal Highland Centre during showcase
The showcase, an adaptation of the Royal Highland Show held behind closed doors and livestreamed around the world, began on Monday and will continue for the rest of the week.
The RHC, whose Lowland Hall was opened as a vaccination centre in February, has delivered more than 100,000 doses since March.
It initially had a capacity of 5,000 doses per week, with the potential to step up to 30,000 per week.
However, just over 1,000 appointments will be held each day this week, as the rate of vaccination has been slowed due to the event taking place.
Lowland Hall is also the only vaccination centre in NHS Lothian not offering drop-in clinics to over-40s this week. They will resume after the showcase.
One vaccinator who works at the centre said they were planning to administer the “bare minimum” of doses this week, and voiced fears the arrangement would “slow down” the programme across NHS Lothian.
"This comes at a time when infections are on the increase, and vaccines are available for all demographics,” they said. “We should be going full steam ahead, not putting the brakes on.”
Professor Alex McMahon, executive director for nursing, midwifery and allied healthcare professionals at NHS Lothian, said: “Throughout our vaccination programme NHS Lothian has been delivering the vaccine to the population as fast as supply allows, scaling our operation up and down to match that supply.
"A reduction in supply of the Pfizer vaccine and in the space available to us at the Royal Highland Centre (RHC) due to the Royal Highland Show means we are planning fewer appointments there this week.”
A spokesperson from the RHC said: "Over 1,000 people per day are being vaccinated at the Royal Highland Centre during the seven days of [the] Showcase.
"This number was agreed at contract stage with NHS Scotland. It is our understanding that plans were put in place at that time so that there would be no reduction in overall numbers being vaccinated across the region during [the] Showcase.
"Since 1st March over 105,000 people have been vaccinated at the RHC.”
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