More than 10,500 Ayrshire residents have now received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as over 80s begin to be prioritised.

Those vaccinated so far include frontline staff within NHS Ayrshire and Arran, East, North and South Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnerships and staff in care homes, as well as more than 2,100 care home residents across the region.

This week, the health board have also started to vaccinate over 80s living in the community.

By January 25, all GP practices will have started to give the first dose of the vaccine to patients who are aged 80 or over living in the community and by January 31 the aim is to have given the first dose to everyone in this group.

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Vicki Campbell, head of primary and urgent care services, said: “We are delighted to begin vaccinating those aged over 80 in the community and look forward to welcoming all those who are eligible at this stage over the next couple of weeks.

“We will be in touch directly with patients, inviting them in for a vaccination appointment and we would encourage everyone who is eligible, to please attend."

The vaccine requires two doses to offer the best possible protection, with second dose appointments being scheduled for around twelve weeks after the first dose is administered.

Delivery of the COVID vaccination across Ayrshire and Arran is aligned to the prioritisation schedule outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), and communicated by the Scottish Government aimed at ensuring that the most vulnerable receive protection first.

Plans for the further wide scale vaccination roll out are in the final stages.

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NHS Ayrshire and Arran chief executive John Burns said: “We recognise that people across Ayrshire and Arran are keen to know when they will receive their vaccinations. Right across the health and social care system, our staff 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 is a huge task and we ask the public to be patient with this process.

“I want to reassure everyone that we will offer the vaccinations in a systematic way, as supply of vaccine allows, to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are prioritised.”

“In the meantime please remember to continue following the FACTS guidance to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities and better protect our family, friends and colleagues from the negative impacts of coronavirus.”