by Marie Sharp Local Democracy Reporter

GP surgeries in East Lothian are preparing to start rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine to over-80s from Monday.

NHS Lothian said practices in East Lothian will start receiving deliveries of the vaccine from Monday, and people will be contacted directly by the surgeries to arrange appointments.

More than 1,600 vaccinations were carried out last month in East Lothian, with 1,465 given to health and care workers via NHS staff clinics in the county and 168 care home residents and staff, who were not seen at the clinics, receiving their first jab.

NHS Lothian said that more health and care workers in East Lothian would also have received the vaccination at centres outwith the county.

Now, the programme will turn its focus to the priority groups, with residents aged over 80 first to receive the jabs through their doctors’ surgeries.

David Small, Covid vaccination project lead in NHS Lothian, appealed to people to be patient as the vaccine became available to the public.

He said: “Since December 8, when the first Covid vaccination became available, we have delivered over 20,000 vaccinations across Lothian.

“This is a fantastic achievement and is thanks to the hard work and dedication of many people.

“We are not, however, resting, and work has continued at pace to ensure that we can continue this momentum.

“From Monday, GP surgeries in East Lothian will start to receive vaccine deliveries in order to vaccinate those aged over 80. GP surgeries will contact these patients directly to arrange appointments.

“The Covid vaccination is key in helping us return to normal life and we recognise the level of anticipation that is currently being felt by all. 

“I would like to reassure the public that we are working tirelessly to make sure that we can deliver the vaccine to each of the relevant groups when they are due to receive it.

“This will not happen overnight, which is why we urge the public to please be patient with this process.

“However, the message is clear: you will receive your vaccination, but this has to be done in a systematic way, ensuring that those who are most vulnerable are prioritised.”

The Scottish Government in common with all UK governments, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) Uk Government body advice on priority groups to receive the vaccine first.

The advice prioritises:

1. Residents in care homes for older adults and their carers

2. Over-80s and frontline health and social care workers

3. Over-75s

4. Over-70s and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

5. Over-65s

6. All individuals aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality

7. Over-60s

8. Over-55s

9. Over-50s

The committee says the nine priority groups represent around 99 per cent of preventable deaths from Covid-19.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) is a public service news agency : funded by the BBC, provided by the local news sector, and used by qualifying partners. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.