NHS Fife says some of its medical practices are reporting a 100% uptake amongst those offered vaccination.
The COVID-19 programme in Fife commenced in December 2020 with healthcare staff, care home residents and care home staff the first priority groups to be vaccinated as part of the efforts to protect the most vulnerable and maintain critical health and social care services.
Fife residents aged 80 and over were the next priority group to begin vaccination, as set out in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance.
All 54 GP practices in Fife are participating in the COVID-19 vaccination programme to deliver vaccines to this group, with the vast majority starting to book appointments last week after receiving their first supplies of vaccine.
The health board says its practices are continuing to book appointments as quickly as vaccine supply allows.
Further cohorts will be appointed through local vaccination centres, ensuring GPs are able to deliver routine services for our population over the coming months.
North Glen Medical Practice in Glenrothes has now offered vaccination appointments to all patients aged 80 and over, and expects to have completed its vaccination clinics early next week.
Practice Manager, Pamela Godfrey said: “We are pleased to say that we have now contacted all of our patients aged 80 and over to offer them an appointment for vaccination, and we’re really encouraged by the uptake so far.
"We also have a small number of patients who are housebound, and they will be vaccinated by our local district nursing teams instead.
“The last of our clinics are due to take place early next week, by which time we will have completed more than 180 patient vaccinations.”
Considerable progress has also been made at Nethertown Medical Practice in Dunfermline, which has around 480 patients aged 80 and over.
Practice Manager, Les Elder, said: “We expect to have vaccinated in the region of 40% of our patients aged 80 and over by the end of this week and we have had 100% uptake amongst those offered vaccination, which is great.
"The timescales involved in a programme of this scale are a challenge, however, staff in our practice are working really hard to ensure that we vaccinate our patients aged 80 and over as quickly as the supply allows.
"We are arranging clinics as soon as we receive each batch of vaccine to ensure that our patients get vaccinated without delay.
“Our patients have been really understanding and we would like to thank them for the patience they have shown as we support the rollout of the vaccination programme.”
Similar to Nethertown, Tayview Medical Practice in Newport-on-Tay have also reported 100% uptake of appointments amongst their patients aged 80 and over, with more than 220 vaccinations carried out thus far.
Tayview’s Business Manager, David Ramsay, said: “Last week we began booking appointments for COVID-19 vaccination for patients aged 80 and over. So far we have vaccinated more than 220 patients, along with all the staff currently working in the practice.
“As more supplies of the vaccine become available to us, we will press ahead with vaccinating the rest of our patient population in this group.”
In line with the Scottish Government COVID19 Vaccine Deployment Plan, people aged 75-79 will be in the next priority group to begin vaccination, followed by those aged 70-74 and those considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable.
To support the delivery of the vaccine as fast as supply allows these groups will be the first to be vaccinated through local vaccination clinics which will begin to open in a phased approach from 01 February 2021.
The health board says these dedicated facilities will be important to the timely rollout of the COVID19 vaccine to the citizens of Fife.
This will also ensure General Practice can continue to deliver routine care and services to the population of Fife.
Given the significant scale of the vaccination programme, NHS Fife says patients are reminded not to contact their local GP practice for updates to ensure phone lines remain available to those requiring urgent assessment.
NHS Fife Director of Pharmacy and Medicines, Scott Garden, is heartened by the progress made so far: “Considerable headway has been made in the vaccination of our residents aged 80 and over and we expect that the programme will continue to gather pace as the supply of vaccine increases.
“The staff working in medical practices across Fife are working diligently to rollout the vaccination programme as quickly as the supplies allow, and we would like to thank them for their efforts thus far.
"Helpfully, local people have shown great understanding despite their understandable desire to see themselves and their relatives vaccinated, and this is very much appreciated.