Coronavirus in Fife: Former M&S store in Kirkcaldy to be used as vaccine clinic

Empty retail units are set to be repurposed as community vaccination clinics as NHS Fife steps up its fight against Covid-19.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 3:44 pm
M&S on Kirkcaldy High Street is currently empty.

Health chiefs have ordered that former shops in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes be prepared for use as vaccination centres as the region prepares to innoculate the under-50s.

One of the units understood to be ready to use is the former Marks and Spencer unit on Kirkcaldy’s High Street, which closed two years ago.

Additional venues are also being created in Dunfermline and Levenmouth, with exact locations yet to be publicised, to hike the speed at which vaccines are being delivered.

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Those who have already received their first dose will likely return to one of the existing venues for their follow-up jab.

Scott Garden, director of pharmacy and medicines for NHS Fife, says the units will be one of many approaches to vaccination the health board is taking to reach as many people as quickly as possible.

“We’ve completed second doses for care home residents and staff this week and our GP practices are making excellent progress vaccinating those aged over-80 and those who are housebound,” he told a board meeting today (March 31).

“There has been some slowing of supply of vaccine but the board is well placed to manage this.”

Fife has administered over 197,000 vaccines as of the end of March 30, comprising 185,000 first doses and nearly 13,000 second jabs.

Everyone aged 50 and over has been offered an appointment, as have all frontline health and social care workers and those considered to be particularly vulnerable. Nearly all are expected to have been vaccinated by the end of today (March 31).

Fifers have been vaccinated with either the BioNTech-Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to date, with the latter ordered the most by the UK Government because of its less demanding storage requirements.

However, the Kingdom will not be receiving any of the 17 million Moderna vaccines ordered by ministers because NHS Fife cannot store it effectively. Initially, health boards in Glasgow, the Lothians and the Grampians will be the only bodies receiving it in Scotland.

And Garden added that, despite concerns in some European countries over its use, the AstraZeneca vaccine remains safe to use. It had been suggested that the vaccine was causing blood clots in patients’ veins, but the UK’s medicines watchdog MHRA says there is no evidence this is the case.

Vaccinators in Fife are being provided with information cards to reassure locals who may be worried about the vaccine following reports of its suspension among certain age groups in Germany, France, Italy and other countries.

“We know MHRA have looked at this and have put out information providing robust assurance on the safety of the vaccine,” Garden said.

“The statement they have put out is that the evidence is that blood clots are not caused by AstraZeneca.”

NHS Fife chair Tricia Marwick said: “We’re extremely grateful to our vaccinators and look forward to the continued roll-out.”