VIDEO: First look in Edinburgh’s biggest Covid-19 vaccine centre
Director of nursing for primary and community care at NHS Lothian Pat Wynne, took the Evening News on a tour of the new vaccination hub before it opened this week.
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Lowland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre has become home to the Capital’s latest vaccination centre.
The centre, which opened yesterday morning, will play a key role in the next stage of the health board's vaccination programme.
Since the first person from Lothian was vaccinated on December 8, 2020, the health board has successfully jabbed nearly 650,000 people, including all healthcare workers and care home residents.
NHS Lothian has now begun inviting members of cohort 10, 40 to 49-year-olds, to receive their first vaccine at the new centre.
Home to more than 50 vaccination stations, The Royal Highland Centre can provide 18,000 vaccinations per day compared to the prior capacity of 5,000.
Healthcare leaders are thrilled with the new centre as it allows vaccination teams to book more appointments further in advance, which will help significantly increase the speed of the vaccine programme.
Mr Wynne said: “The Royal Highland Centre has given us capacity to open up more appointments and allows us to get many more people vaccinated.
“We are now in a very fortunate position, that we have not been in for a while, as we have vaccine supply.
“Throughout the programme we were always at the risk of not knowing if we were going to get a supply or if that supply was going to be quarantined.
“We would get a message on a Friday saying ‘supply to Lothian delayed’ and automatically we would have to respond to that.
“That contributed to some of the issues we had at the beginning of the programme because we could only book appointments two weeks in advance, so could only have a schedule which is two weeks in front. Whereas we would want to book six to eight weeks ahead.
“This centre, along with vaccine supply, allows us to do that. We have booked the Royal Highland Centre out for the rest of the month and into June.
“We are now able to allocate more appointments than we were ever able to do which increases our overall capacity to vaccinate.”