NHS Ayrshire and Arran are welcoming the next priority group to mass vaccination centres from February 20 – meaning residents in this group can expect a letter inviting them to their appointment this week.

The health board is also setting its focus on administering second doses to care home residents and frontline health and social care staff.

The latest rollout comes despite a dip in vaccine supplies as outlined by Nicola Sturgeon in recent days.

READ MORE: More than 100,000 people in Ayrshire receive first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Addressing the chamber on Tuesday, Sturgeon pointed to a combination of factors that may result in a “slight slow down in the pace of vaccination over the next couple of weeks” including vaccine manufacturer Pfizer having “re-phased delivery” of the overall number of doses given to Scotland – although the overall number has not reduced.

The FM also cited the current stage of the vaccination programme which requires some doses being kept back to account for the delivery of second doses and more than 75,000 extra people having been vaccinated in recent weeks due to high uptake.

Over the next couple of weeks, instead of administering 60,000 vaccinations a day as recorded over the course of last week, the Scottish Government expects to be delivering more in the region of 30,000, Sturgeon announced.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran Chief Executive John Burns assured: “NHS Ayrshire and Arran continue with the planned roll-out of our COVID-19 vaccination programme. Our focus this week is on second doses for care home residents in Ayrshire, as well as frontline health and social care staff, as these groups received their first dose earlier in the programme.

“The care home residents, frontline health and social care staff clinics are not visible within our mass vaccination programme schedule, hence the suggestion of a gap in delivery. I would seek to assure you that delivery of our COVID-19 vaccination programme is on track and administration of the vaccine is ongoing.”

He continued: “We will now welcome the next priority group to mass vaccination centres from 20 February. Residents of Ayrshire who are in this next group will begin receiving letters inviting them to appointments this week.

“This vaccination programme is quite simply the biggest thing we have ever done and our teams are working tirelessly to deliver it as quickly as possible. I would ask that residents of Ayrshire are patient as we work through the programme.

“Remember that attending a vaccination appointment is an essential reason to leave the house in the current restrictions, and it is heartening to see so many Ayrshire residents coming forward.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald:

READ MORE: Latest figures show COVID death rate increasing in some parts of Ayrshire

NHS Ayrshire and Arran Deputy Nursing Director Jenny Wilson is one of the local programme leads and has also been on the ground delivering vaccinations.

She said: “Having delivered the first dose of the vaccine to those aged 65 to 79 we are now moving on to the next cohort of residents.

“The feedback from those attending the clinics has been overwhelmingly positive. And so if you receive an appointment to be vaccinated, please make sure you take up the offer.”

People who require assistance attending their appointment can call the Traveline COVID-19 specific helpline on 0141 465 1878 or click here

For residents in South Ayrshire, SPT are running shuttle buses from Prestwick direct to the Citadel for the dates of the clinics.

Planning is well underway for further cohorts of patients to receive their vaccinations beyond February.

Details on future mass vaccination clinics will be published in due course.