Almost 80,000 COVID vaccination appointments have been made available across Fife in the coming weeks as part of efforts to protect local people against the worst effects of the virus.
Following the rapid acceleration of the COVID booster programme announced by Scottish Government earlier this week, clinic capacity in Fife has been increased by 70% with around 78,000 appointments being offered across Fife between now and the first week in January.
The additional clinic capacity has been made possible by drafting in clinical staff from other services, with additional space available within venues due to a reduction in the observation time people are required to wait after their vaccination.
Anyone aged 18 and over requiring a first, second or booster dose of the COVID vaccine is being encouraged to book a vaccination appointment as soon as possible. Similarly, young people aged 12 and over requiring a first dose and those aged 16 or 17 requiring a first or second dose, are also invited to book an appointment for vaccination. Appointments can be booked using the national booking portal at: vacs.nhs.scot or by calling the national booking helpline on 0800 030 8013.
Since going live on the national booking portal there has been a huge response from local people wishing to get vaccinated, with some 23,000 new appointments booked this
week so far. While this means there is limited availability into the early part of next week, there continues to be tens of thousands of appointments available over the course of the next three weeks in clinics across Fife.
Immunisation Project Director in Fife, Lisa Cooper, said:
“The ask to rapidly accelerate the pace of the vaccination programme has been really challenging, however, due to the hard work and flexibility of our staff we have been able to increase the numbers of appointments at our clinics by 70%.
“The response from people in Fife over the last few days has been really encouraging, and we are seeing thousands of appointments being booked each day. While our clinics are now fully booked over the course of this weekend, there continues to be literally tens of thousands of appointments available at venues across Fife between now and the first week in January.
“As we would expect, some times and clinics are more popular than others and so we are asking those who haven’t yet booked to look for appointments not just at the closest clinic, but also other clinics nearby. We are continually monitoring the availability of appointments across all of our clinics, and we are working to make additional capacity available in those areas where the demand is at its greatest.”
Over and above the number of scheduled appointments, there are also a number of drop-in clinics available across the Kingdom for those aged 40 and over requiring a booster, along with those considered clinically vulnerable, and where no appointment is necessary. Drop-in clinics are also open to anyone eligible for a first or second dose. Details of all upcoming drop-in clinics are available on the NHS Fife website, at: www.nhsfife.org/dropinclinics.
With significant demand anticipated at drop-in clinics in Fife, those planning to attend are being reminded that queuing is likely and there may be a wait to be seen, with those with booked appointments given priority.
Immunisation Project Director, Lisa Cooper added:
“We are asking people, wherever possible, to book an appointment in advance and there continues to be plenty of available appointments over the coming three weeks or so.
“Booking an appointment in advance will make it less likely that you will be required to wait, and helps us with our planning, enabling us to ensure we have the correct staffing and supplies in place in each venue to deliver the significant volumes of vaccinations we are at present.
“For those planning on attending our drop-ins, particularly over the course of this weekend, we are asking people to bear in mind that they may be required to wait and to ensure they are wearing warm clothing in the event they are required to queue outside, as may be necessary at some clinics.”
For more information on the COVID vaccination programme in Fife, visit: www.nhsfife.org/vaccination.