Covid Scotland: Lothian vaccine rollout ramps up with mobile clinic visiting shopping centres

The vaccine rollout in the Lothians is set to be ramped up with a mobile clinic visiting shopping centres to boost uptake as new case numbers in Scotland continue to soar.

Drop-in covid vaccination clinics opened in all areas of mainland Scotland from Monday this week, but NHS Lothian is providing an extra mobile service to encourage as many people as possible to get ‘Jagged in July’ in an effort to delay further spread of the coronavirus.

A bus converted into a vaccination clinic will be visiting shopping centres in Livingston and Edinburgh this weekend to jag as many 18 to 29-year-olds as possible, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

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This initiative will allow those working in retail and hospitality quick and easy access to the vaccine, without the need to take any significant amount of time away from work, and will also target shoppers and those visiting the city centre on a day out.

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People who have not had their first dose or had their first more than eight weeks ago are being encouraged to visit the bus, which will be at the Almondvale shopping centre in Livingston on Friday and Saturday, and the Fort Kinnaird centre in Edinburgh on Sunday.

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NHS Lothian nursing director Pat Wynne encouraged “anyone who is near these locations this week, and is yet to be vaccinated, not to miss the bus and come forward.”

Mr Wynne added: “We have now vaccinated over 600,000 people across Lothian, that is over a million vaccines, however for the programme to be as successful as possible we need everyone eligible to come forward and take up the offer of a vaccine.”

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Scotland's deputy chief medical officer Dr Nicola Steedman watches as nurse Susan Pate administers a vaccination jab to Maurice Hickman, during a visit to a vaccination bus run by Scottish Ambulance Service and NHS Lothian at the Grassmarket in Edinburgh picture: Andrew Milligan

The vaccination bus is already on the road and has visited Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, where it will be stationed again on Thursday.

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Speaking about visiting the bus in the Capital’s Old Town, deputy chief medical officer Dr Nicola Steedman said: “Our route out of this pandemic is getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, that is why we are urging people to get jagged in July.

“We are currently working our way through the remaining people in the 18 to 29-year-old group and would welcome them at the vaccination bus if they want to pop in while they are out shopping or walking.”

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The bus complements every mainland health board continuing to offer daily drop-in clinics for people under the same conditions.

Anyone who prefers a scheduled appointment can still register with NHS Inform, the Scottish Government said.

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Edinburgh currently has the lowest second dose vaccine rate per council area in Scotland with 49.9 per cent of the population having received it compared to the national average of 63.2 per cent, according to the latest government data.

Midlothian and West Lothian also make the bottom 12 out of Scotland’s health boards for the lowest second dose vaccine rate.

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Speaking about the figures, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said NHS Lothian’s low numbers reflects the health board’s younger urban age demographic.

Just 35 per cent of people in the Lothians are aged over 50, compared to 37 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 49 per cent in the Western Isles.

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