A MEMBER of staff at NHS Borders says she is “delighted” to be among the first people in the region set to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
Katie Stewart, a consultant anaesthetist for the region’s health board, will receive the vaccination tomorrow (Tuesday, December 8), becoming one of the first people to get the jab in the Borders.
NHS Borders confirmed that the initial wave of its vaccination programme will begin this week, with the first in line being workers who will give the vaccine to the wider public.
On the eve of receiving the vaccine, Dr Stewart said: “The Pfizer COVID vaccine is fantastic news.
“After a very long hard year looking after patients with COVID and staying apart to protect each other, we finally have something to celebrate.
“The new vaccination has been tested on over 43,000 people around the world so I am truly delighted to be one of the first people in the Scottish Borders to receive one.”
Sarah Horan, NHS Borders’ deputy director of nursing, midwifery and AHPs, described the vaccine in the Borders as “a very welcome sight”.
“While it will be a huge logistical challenge in rolling out vaccination, this is a real stepping stone in bringing an end to the pandemic,” she said.
“I’d urge those eligible in this first wave to take-up the COVID-19 vaccine and for others to please be patient as we work through priority groups in line with the vaccine that we have available to us and the settings in which the vaccine needs to be delivered.
“I would also ask people to keep following the FACTS around coronavirus.
“There is still a long winter ahead of us so protect yourself, your loved ones and the NHS.”
Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This is the best news that any of us have heard about the virus since the pandemic began.
“Safety of the vaccine is paramount, with each vaccine passing a rigorous and independent three-phase testing process, reviewed by independent regulatory and advisory bodies to ensure it is effective and safe for use.
“The global scientific, research and pharmaceutical community has come together and worked as never before.
“That is why we are seeing this front running vaccine delivered in months rather than years, but it is not at the expense of safety.
“For all the difficulties that lie ahead, the arrival of the first vaccine should give us all real hope that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon.”
The vaccine, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, has been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
After vaccinators have been vaccinated, attention will then turn to other priority groups, such as residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, all those aged over 80, and frontline health and social care workers.