MSP calls for local COVID vaccine centre for north-east Fife residents

North East Fife’s MSP has called for a vaccine centre to be set up in the local area for those under the age of 50 due to get vaccinated soon.

Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:03 pm
Picture Michael Gillen.

While centres were opened in Anstruther, Cupar, Newburgh, St. Andrews and Tayport for the vaccine programme aimed at the over 50s and those with certain underlying health conditions everyone else will now be required to travel to Glenrothes or Methil for their covid vaccination

Now Willie Rennie MSP has called for at least one centre to be established in or around the St. Andrews locale to cut down on the lengthy journeys residents will now be forced to make.

He wants the university and NHS Fife to work together to create the centre.

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Mr Rennie said: “The vaccination teams and the NHS have done a good job with the roll out of the vaccine so far but the latest decision has caused a lot of problems for local people.

“Requiring those under 50 years old to go to Methil or Glenrothes rather than local centres is problematic.

“Many people with busy working lives and families are already stretched to the limit so a ninety-minute round trip to a centre is time that they often cannot afford.

“A centre closer to home would make things much easier and would increase the take up of the vaccine too.

“That’s why I am asking the NHS and the university in St. Andrews to work together to find a solution.

“The university may have underused capacity with the students not on campus at present.

"If that’s not possible perhaps a drive through facility may be an acceptable alternative like the arrangement at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

“I have raised the concerns expressed by local people. I understand the desire to concentrate on a smaller number of centres but the impact on my constituents is significant which is why I want the NHS to find a solution.”

A spokesman for the University of St Andrews said: “There’s no such thing as an underused University building. Space in St Andrews is at a premium, but we would be very happy to talk with our local authority and NHS partners to see if there might be other, creative ways in which we can help provide a vaccination centre for North East Fife.”

Scott Garden, Director of Pharmacy and Medicines, NHS Fife: "Throughout our planning and delivery of the COVID-19 Vaccination programme in Fife, we have kept our venue locations under review.

"This is to ensure we are able to get access to and safely staff a range of appropriately sized venues that meet the needs of the local population and each priority cohort appointment allocation.

"For the larger Cohort 11 (starting from 31st May) we are currently considering extending our first dose vaccination venues in Fife from 4 to 6 and hope to confirm these additional venue locations over the coming week."

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