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VACCINE: ‘People are likely to see a significant ramping up over the next few weeks’

LISTEN: The Aberfeldy Community Council discusses Highland Perthshire’s status with the vaccine

On Tuesday March 2, Aberfledy Community Council members took the opportunity to address questions on the vaccination rollout in Highland Perthshire.

The monthly meeting took place virtually and Independent Councillor, Xander McDade provided an update on the council’s COVID support efforts.

Councillor McDade, told the community council: “People are likely to see a significant ramping up over the next few weeks, particularly towards the end of March as vaccine supplies increase across the country.

“This was all planned and expected. There has also been an element of holding back enough supply to do second doses of Pfizer because obviously the first people to receive vaccinations are about to become eligible for their second doses and there has been enough supply held back for that.

“500 shifts are being provided by the Council in support of the vaccination effort for the community vaccination sites.

“Positive news is that 41% of Tayside have received the first vaccination – 141,000 people.

“That’s the equivalent of 11% of those vaccinated in Scotland, but Tayside only represents 8.5% of the population of Scotland so we are well ahead of the national average for vaccinations.

“Perth and Kinross are doing very well, and Tayside is doing well.

With an increasing population being invited to attend vaccination appointments, councillor’s McDade and John Duff addressed concerns for those being asked to travel larger distances to a vaccination centre rather than visiting their GP practice.

Xander McDade explained: “People are being asked to attend community vaccination centres that are not in their immediate locale in some cases.

“There is only so many vaccinators the only so many places we can store a vaccine.

“Being asked to travel for it is considered essential travel and if they can’t travel, arrangements are made to try and accommodate so in some cases there have been house visits for those who are housebound.”

Addressing the concerns on supply and storage of the vaccine, Councillor for Perth and Kinross Council, John Duff said: “The Pfizer one which is what’s being used in the vaccination centres has to be stored at very very low temperatures whereas the Oxford AstraZeneca one can be stored in a normal fridge.

“GP practices are set up to be able to handle the AstraZeneca one whereas the vaccination centres have specialist freezers that allow them to store things at minus 70 degrees, hence the reason why there are a smaller number of vaccination centres.

“I think the Pfizer labs had changed the way they produce the vaccine to try and increase the amount of vaccine in the long run and I think that’s led to a slight hiccup in initial supplies, but I’m told that everything should be back to normal levels as of next week and it will be full steam ahead once again.”

Councillor McDade added: “This was planned. We expected and were told by the vaccination supply companies that there was going to be a dip in supply.”

Also in discussion was the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine single shot vaccine from the United States.

Cllr McDade also added: “The UK has ordered the same amount as it has on Pfizer and that’s one shot so it will go twice as far.

“The UK has ordered more vaccine per capita than any country in the world.

“We are leading in terms of mass vaccination so I think we can be really positive about the rollout in general the NHS has done an incredible job in getting it there as quickly as it has.”

The next meeting of the Community Council takes place on Monday 12th April 2021 at 7pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend and can contact Dbcc.correspondence@gmail.com to register your attendance.

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