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NHS Fife is providing an update on the issues experienced at some of our COVID-19 community vaccination clinics yesterday, and the measures taken to improve the running of these clinics for the remainder of this week. 

Despite the significant challenges, more than 5,000 Fifers were vaccinated yesterday, the highest number in a single day in the Kingdom to date. Working with colleagues in the national programme team and National Services Scotland, we are now clear that the issue was caused by significantly greater numbers of local people being allocated appointments through the National Scheduling Tool than we had capacity to manage. Unfortunately this resulted in some people experiencing unacceptable queues for their appointments, and at some locations this was outside in the wintry weather. Those individuals who understandably could not wait in these queues are in the process of being rebooked into clinics as soon as we can safely do so.

Yesterday a decision was taken not to cancel the overbooked appointments for today and tomorrow (09 and 10 February), and instead we increased staffing at our venues and expanded our clinics so that we can prevent the queueing we saw yesterday. A number of appointments for Thursday through to Monday are being rescheduled and those affected will receive update letters tomorrow. 

So far today, our clinics appear to largely be running well and we have not seen a repeat of the issues experienced yesterday.

The result of the errors with the National Schedule Tool means that instead of performing 37,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in Fife this week, we will likely carry out around 41,000. The additional appointments can be sufficiently met within the existing vaccine stock we have.

NHS Fife Chief Executive, Carol Potter, said: 

“I would like to begin by reiterating our apologies to those who experienced unacceptable waits at some of our vaccination clinics yesterday.

“Despite the considerable challenges, we are pleased that more than 5,000 people across Fife received their vaccination yesterday and we expect that to increase again today. We are determined that we will maintain the pace of the programme to ensure that our older people and those considered clinically vulnerable in Fife are vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“Again, I would like to offer a sincere thank you to the people in Fife for their continued understanding, not only this week but for many months as we have asked them to stick to public health measures in place to supress coronavirus in the Kingdom.

“I also want to thank our staff for their incredible efforts. Whether it is our vaccination teams going the extra mile this week to ensure that the programme remains on our course, or our staff taking cups of tea and biscuits to those waiting in queues yesterday – there are countless examples across our wards and departments of staff going above and beyond to provide the best care possible to patients and they continue to be a credit to us.”

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Fife, visit: https://www.nhsfife.org/coronavirus/