Edinburgh’s mass vaccine hub closes after delivering more than 250,000 Covid jabs
NHS Lothian’s first mass vaccination centre will wind-up later this month after providing more than a quarter of a million doses of lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine.
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Since February, teams at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) have administered a total of 131,897 first doses and 122,747 second doses to people across the region.
Health bosses have confirmed that the centre will close its doors on September 19 as the national vaccination programme enters a more community-based phase.
The closure will allow extra clinics to emerge in its place, based in East Lothian, Midlothian, Edinburgh and West Lothian and run by Lothian’s four Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP),
Edinburgh’s HSCP will continue to use the Lowland Hall and open 11 smaller venues across the city.
The three other HSCP are finalising their plans for delivery.
A spokesperson from the Edinburgh HSCP said: “We are entering a new phase of the vaccination programme which will allow us to create more convenient, community-based clinics.”
Nurse Director Primary and Community Care, NHS Lothian Pat Wynne has assured the public that they will not feel any impact of the change in operation.
Patients will continue to receive appointments in the usual way, attend their local clinic or go along to their nearest drop-in clinic, he said.
1,261,558 doses of the vaccine has been delivered in Lothian
Since the vaccination programme began, a total of 1,261,558 doses of the lifesaving vaccine has been delivered overall in Lothian, with a total of 673,447 individuals.
Despite significant success the health board has faced criticism for its handling of the vaccine roll out.
In March, less than a month after the ECCI vaccine centre opened, NHS Lothian, Royal Mail, the National Delivery Programme and NHS National Services Scotland published a joint apology after a number of vaccines were unable to take place due to delays in patients receiving their vaccine appointments via post.
The apology came after some vaccination centres in the Lothians saw “literally no patients” on Monday, March 15, and Tuesday, March 16, due to the communications delay, with staff told to try and find members of the public or police officers to take the leftover jags.
The health board has also been blasted over its consistently poor performance on Public Health Scotland’s league table.
Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian have routinely had the worst vaccine rates in the country, with the Capital in particular regularly featuring at the foot of the table.
Despite difficulties, Mr Wynne said he is proud of his team who he said have achieved a massive amount in a short space of time.
He said: “They have helped provide protection to over quarter of a million people from across Lothian in just one centre alone – that is quite an achievement.
“As we move into this new phase I would urge anyone who has not yet completed their course to do so as soon as possible.”
EICC’s CEO Marshall Dallas has also praised the health board and said the venue has been proud to work alongside NHS Lothian.
He said: “We have been proud to work alongside NHS Lothian by facilitating Edinburgh’s main vaccination centre, where we have welcomed many thousands of people in our community every day to be vaccinated – without doubt this is the most important event we will ever host.”