170,000 Fifers have now had first COVID vaccinations

Nearly half of Fife's population has received a Covid-19 vaccination almost four months after the fightback against the virus began.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 2:10 pm
Scott Garden, director of pharmacy and medicine with NHS Fife

Since the programme began in December, 170,000 people have received their first jag while a further 10,000 have completed a full course of either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-Moderna vaccine.

It means nearly half of Fife's total population - and well over half of its adults - now have a degree of protection against Covid-19.

It’s the latest landmark in the region’s bid to bring transmission of the virus under control, and open the door to a return to normal, every day life.

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Threats of a shortage of vaccines have been reported in national media.

But, Scott Garden, chief pharmacist at NHS Fife, said Fife was adequately stocked to ensure everyone due a second vaccine within 12 weeks of the first would get it.

"We're well-placed to manage our supply of vaccines with robust modelling in place. People still waiting for second doses can complete their course within 12 weeks," he said.

Fife's vaccination programme has expanded to what are known as cohorts 10-12, covering those aged 40-49, as the region continues its march against the virus. Four new vaccination centres will be opened as part of this, though the locations are yet to be decided.

Unpaid carers and care home staff have also been invited to register for jabs this month, with vaccinations being carried out by GPs to ensure as many Fifers are vaccinated as quickly as possible.

The Kingdom's integrated joint board - which manages health and social care responsibilities shared by Fife Council and NHS Fife - heard today that test positivity rates have plummeted to 2.6% from a peak of 10% during Scotland's second peak earlier this year.

Chris McKenna, NHS Fife medical director, said: "Within Fife we're doing a significant number of tests within the community and hospital settings, both symptomatic and asymptomatic.

"Our positivity rates are lower than the Scottish average and lower than where we were back in January."

However, infection rates have risen in Fife - pegged by experts to the return of some groups to full-time education.

A peak of 64 new cases in a single day was recorded on March 15, three weeks after P1-P3 pupils returned to classrooms.

Dr McKenna added: "There has been a rise for a number of weeks previous and that almost certainly relates to the return of universities and schools.

"What that tells us is this is a very dynamic situation with the opening up of our communities and the fact the virus is still with us."

Scotland is on track to begin opening up more next month. However, the public health expert has warned that preventative measures such as wearing a face mask and following social distancing must still be followed.

He concluded: "There is still a need to balance reopening with public health measures: social distancing is still important, hand cleanliness, wearing of masks. The fact we have an ongoing vaccination programme doesn't take away from the need to do that."

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