Fife set to step up COVID vaccine programme to curb case numbers
NHS Fife is to pick up the pace of its COVID-19 vaccination programme in the run-up to Christmas in a bid to curb case numbers, it has emerged.
The health board and its partners will step up their drive to ensure all those eligible for a booster dose will get one in response to a national request from the Scottish Government to ‘turbo boost’ the vaccination programme over a three-week period starting this week.
The hope is to have all eligible cohorts fully vaccinated with a flu and COVID booster by the end of December, while new figures suggest FIfe is course to eliminate its backlog - a national term for those who fall outwith timing for booster dose - by December 20 at current rates.
While opening times at community clinics will be extended at evenings and weekends, it is understood NHS FIfe has also requested a formal extension to MIlitary Aid to Civilian Authority (MACA) scheme which has seen eight vaccinators and two registrants from the armed forces complement the 218-strong team of healthcare support worker vaccinators.
That MOD resource has been guaranteed until December 1, but it is likely to be extended until the end of the month.
Dr Joy Tomlinson, director of public health, commented: “It is evident from figures emerging that the vaccination programme is having a significant positive impact on cases, hospitalisations, and deaths from COVID-19.
“Despite this success, the pandemic is not over.
“At present, there are many factors that are making the impact of this winter uncertain, including increased indoor mixing as weather becomes colder and the positive benefits we anticipate from the booster campaign.
“It is essential to try to limit the expected increase in cases as much as possible through increased efforts to engage and communicate clearly with people about symptoms, measures to reduce spread (face coverings, ventilation, physical distancing and vaccination) and actions that individuals can take to protect themselves and the most vulnerable in society.”
Up-to-date figures due to be presented to NHS Fife’s board this week reveal more than 651,000 vaccines have been administered to date, with 88% of the region’s population aged 75-79 having received their booster.