Race is on to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as restrictions set to ease

NHS Borders is ramping up efforts to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced restrictions will ease next week.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:18 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 4:39 pm
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Covid rules will be eased on July 19.

Speaking to a virtually recalled Holyrood as part of a Covid-19 update to MSPs on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon confirmed mainland Scotland will move down to level zero from Monday, July 19.

NHS Borders wants to get as many people vaccinated as possible to help reduce the spread of the virus as restrictions ease and will continue to run a series of drop-in clinics over the coming days.

All over 18s who have not had their first jag, or who had their first dose more than eight weeks ago, are invited to attend.

Nicky Berry, director of operations at NHS Borders, said: “We know that the vaccine is safe and has a positive impact on hospital admissions, reducing transmission and the severity of illness.

"We also know that Covid-19 can affect people of any age, so please protect yourself and your loved ones by coming forward to get vaccinated. This also includes coming forward when it is time for your second dose to ensure that you have greater protection against Covid-19.”

Over 87,500 people in the Borders have now received their first dose and over 68,000 people have had their second vaccination.

Drop-in clinics are running at Eyemouth Community Centre tomorrow (July 15) and The Border Events Centre in Kelso on Saturday and Sunday (July 17-18).

As part of next week’s changes, Scots will be allowed to meet up to 10 people from four households in a public place, and eight people from four households at home.

The limit on the number of people at outdoor gatherings will rise to 15 from 15 households, while up to eight people from four households will be able to meet in homes.

Indoor contact sport is allowed and capacity at stadiums will rise to 2,000 outdoors and 400 indoors. The number of people allowed to attend weddings and funerals will also jump to 200.

There has been a delay in the return to office work, though, and indoor hospitality will be required to close at midnight.

Face coverings will also continue to be mandatory on public transport and in shops.

Announcing the changes earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon said: “Lifting all restrictions and mitigations right now would put all of us at greater risk – but in particular it would make it much more difficult for the most clinically vulnerable to go about their normal lives.

"It would risk the imposition of shielding by default and that is not something we should do.

“The Scottish Government understands the temptation to lift more restrictions more quickly - of course we do.

“But in our view, and in line with clinical advice and modelling, a gradual approach stands the best chance of minimising further health harm and loss of life and because a gradual approach also stands the best chance of being sustainable, it will be better in the long term for the economy too.”

Dr Keith Allan, associate director of Public Health for the Borders, said: “This announcement shows that we are on the right path to being able to deal with this virus differently thanks to the Covid-19 vaccination and testing programmes.

“However it remains crucial, especially with the continued easing of restrictions that we all continue to be responsible and follow the rules that are in place in order to protect each other and our local health and social care services.

“The emergence of the Delta variant is a reminder that Covid-19 is still circulating, highly transmissible and continues to pose a threat to us.

“If you develop any symptoms of Covid-19 you should self-isolate and book a test. Your household also need to self-isolate whilst you await your test results. If you are asked to self-isolate for 10 days please do so. When your isolation period is over please continue to be vigilant for any symptoms that may occur from day 10-14.

“Every single one of us has a part to play in suppressing and limiting the spread of Covid-19 so please continue to follow the FACTS advice, even if you have received one or both doses of the Covid-19 vaccination.”

Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam, added: “The confirmation of the move to Level 0 from Monday will I’m sure be welcomed by many people across the Borders who are naturally so eager to return to a more normal life.

"It’s encouraging to see restrictions gradually being eased further and I also look forward to more details being confirmed in due course about the next steps after Level 0.

“The easing of restrictions has only been possible because of the part everyone has played in helping control the spread of the virus across our region and I thank everyone once again for their cooperation and the sacrifices that they have had to make.

“As our society begins to open up further, I would like to encourage everyone to continue to adhere to the latest guidance and follow the FACTS to ensure the safety of you and your family.”