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The former Marks and Spencer store on Kirkcaldy is set to become a COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic as the plans for the expansion of the programme in Fife beyond the initial priority groups take shape.

The existing network of COVID-19 clinics in Fife have been performing many thousands of immunisations each week, with more than 190,000 Fifers having already received their first jab. With the likely completion of first doses for those in priority groups 1 to 9 in the coming weeks, work is now well-underway ahead of the planned expansion of the programme, which will see all adults in Fife offered vaccination on a phased basis over the coming months.

Four mass vaccination sites are currently planned in towns across the Kingdom to meet the demand for even greater volumes of COVID-19 jabs. The new mass vaccination clinics are larger still and are designed to maximise the throughput of people attending for their jab. Vaccinations at the new clinics will continue to be by appointment only.

For many months, NHS Fife has been reviewing potential venues to deliver larger numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations - this involved considering the accessibility of the potential venues, clinical waste disposal and whether safe physical distancing requirements could be met.

The former M&S store on Kirkcaldy High Street is the first of these mass vaccination sites to be confirmed, with the clinic expected to become operational by May 2021. Additional sites are currently being assessed and will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

M&S have offered the use of the store to NHS Fife free-of-charge for use as a mass vaccination clinic, with the firm retaining the lease on the site following its closure in 2019. A thorough assessment was undertaken to ensure the suitability of the venue to safely deliver many hundreds of COVID-19 vaccinations each day.

Shona Lawrie, M&S Regional Manager said:

“As soon as we were approached to see if our former store was suitable, we were determined to pull out all the stops to make it happen.

“M&S is extremely proud to get involved – we think it is a brilliant idea to use this site and we’re keen to do all we can to help NHS Fife and the Scottish Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme.”

NHS Fife’s estates and facilities staff have been working tirelessly for a number of weeks to prepare the site and make the necessary adaptions to the venue to support the safe running of the clinic.

NHS Fife Director of Pharmacy and Medicines, Scott Garden, said:

“We want offer our most sincere thanks to M&S for the generous offer of the use of their former store on Kirkcaldy High Street for use as a mass vaccination clinic.

“With the overwhelming majority of those in our priority groups now having received their first vaccination, it’s vital that we adapt the delivery of the programme in order that we can carry out the volumes necessary to vaccinate our younger adult population. Clinics such as the one planned on Kirkcaldy High Street will provide significant capacity to will ensure that we can perform as many vaccinations as the vaccine supply allows.

“A considerable amount of work has been carried out over recent months to assess potential sites and carry out the necessary adaptations to ensure that they are suitable to safely host the volumes of people intended to be using these clinics.

“While the scale of the COVID-19 vaccination programme here in Fife is unlike anything we have ever undertaken, we are really encouraged with the considerable progress made and remain confident that we are well-placed as we transition into the next phase of the programme.”

The latest information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Fife is available on NHS Fife’s website at: https://fife.link/vaccinationclinics

Additional information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Scotland is available on the NHS Inform website by visiting: https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine.

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Issued:            15 April 2021