HEALTH chiefs are transforming the Barrhead Foundry into a community vaccination hub as a new weapon in the battle against coronavirus.

The town centre landmark is one of two sites in East Renfrewshire – along with Carmichael Hall, in Giffnock – being used to speed up the immunisation programme.

Covid jabs will be administered at the hubs from February 1 in addition to the ongoing community arrangements involving local GPs, who are currently vaccinating people aged 80 and over.

Dr Linda de Caestecker, director of public health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), described the new hubs as "a major step forward."

She told the Barrhead News: "After the progress we have made in vaccinating residents and staff in care homes and our frontline NHS and social care workers, this is another piece of good news in the fight against Covid-19.

“The mass vaccination centres will allow us to vaccinate significant numbers of people, as soon as supplies are received, whilst observing social distancing.

“We would like to thank all of our staff for their ongoing commitment to the programme. In addition, we would like to thank our local authority colleagues and HM Armed Forces for their support with this endeavour.”

Health bosses have been following the priority list agreed by the Scottish Government and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) as they protect communities against Covid-19.

All care home residents and staff in the area have been offered the first dose of the vaccine, while the vaccination of frontline health and social care staff is ongoing.

The programme to immunise those aged over 80 in the community began last week.

In the coming months, the vaccine will continue to be delivered according to the JCVI order of priority, which is mainly by age group but also includes unpaid carers, as well as people at additional clinical risk from the virus.

Health staff will contact East Renfrewshire residents to give them details of their appointment when they become eligible, which means there is no need for them to contact their GP.

Dr de Caestecker added: “While it is encouraging to see the community rollout underway, it does not mean we can let our guard down.

"Our hospitals are extremely busy with Covid-19 admissions and our staff are working tirelessly to look after both Covid and non-Covid patients.

“We would urge everyone to continue following the rules to help minimise the spread of the virus.”

JCVI vaccination priority list:

·         Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers

·         All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers

·         All those 75 years of age and over

·         All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

·         All those 65 years of age and over

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

·         All those 60 years of age and over

·         All those 55 years of age and over

·         All those 50 years of age and over