Scotland is another step towards “a degree of normality” with almost all north care home residents having received their first Covid vaccination – and the remainder following this week.
Thousands of people have already been inoculated against the disease, following the approvals of two vaccines for use by the NHS last month, and health bosses reckon all consenting residents will have received their first jab by the weekend.
At a board meeting last week, NHS Grampian revealed around 90% of its residents have received the initial injection.
And teams have now provided first vaccinations to all those who are “fit, able and have consented.”
A spokeswoman added: “We will be returning to care homes to carry out ‘catch-up’ work as part of the wider vaccination programme.”
NHS Highland is expecting to reach the goal by the end of the week, carrying out care home vaccinations “as a priority”.
A spokesman said: “Most homes have already been vaccinated and the remainder will be complete by the end of this week.
“We are making arrangements to vaccinate staff and residents in the affected homes who have tested negative.
“Those who are positive will be vaccinated in one month in accordance with the guidance on vaccine use.”
The target has already been met in Orkney and Shetland, with more than 420 staff and residents given their first dose.
The health boards’ joint chief executive, Michael Dickson, said everyone living in a care home who wants the vaccine has now received their first injection.
He said: “On the whole, people are really keen to get it.
“They see it as the way we can all get back to a degree of normality.
“We have had a relatively small number of people refuse it. In fact, we have had the reverse.
“One lady came in for her vaccine and we’re restricted from giving someone who has had an allergic reaction to another previous vaccine, which she had.
“But she said she had an Epi-pen and was really keen.”
The island communities have faced additional challenges in transporting the vials.
“It’s unbelievably difficult to transport a vaccine that has to be held at -70C to isolated communities like Orkney and Shetland,” Mr Dickson added.
“The Pfizer/ BioNtech vaccine has to be transported at that temperature and you can take it out for a period of time – but the longer it is out, the less time you have to give it to the patient.
“With hard work from our teams we’ve managed to do it and we’re administering the vaccinations as quickly as supplies allow.
“On the face of it, it looks like a very difficult situation and it’s very complicated, but it shows the resilience of the NHS to turn this around so fast.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged people to get the Covid jab, after trade body Scottish Care said many care home staff and managers had been targeted by anti-vaccination campaigners.
And chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “When I hear about particularly targeted misinformation to any particular groups it makes me really concerned because it preys on people’s anxiety and fear.
“My plea to everyone is to read trusted sources of information in relation to the vaccination.”