SAS mobile vaccine bus hits the road

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Lochs & Glens has provided a coach for the Scottish Ambulance Service to use as a mobile vaccination station. SAS

A Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) vaccination car and specially adapted bus have been operating out of Stanley, Perthshire to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations to residents identified by NHS Tayside who live in remote and rural areas.

Around 400 people are expected to be vaccinated via trained SAS staff operating from a modified coach which was offered and supplied free of charge by Lochs and Glens Holidays of Gartocharn, as well as a car which has been visiting homes.

Since Wednesday 3 February a team of five staff members from the Scottish Ambulance Service have been delivering the first dose of the Oxford vaccine – AstraZeneca – to people aged 70 to 79 and also clinically vulnerable patients.

SAS Medical Director Jim Ward said: “This is a great initiative in the fight against Covid-19. We have already vaccinated more than 5,000 of our own staff, Community First Responders and students, which has been a fantastic effort by everyone involved.

“The bus is essentially a mobile vaccination clinic that can access remote and rural Scotland, providing a sheltered place where people can come and get vaccinated in a safe environment by trained healthcare professionals. The car will allow people who cannot leave their homes to be vaccinated.

“We have received great feedback from the people who have been vaccinated on the bus and also by those who have been visited at their homes. We are very grateful to Lochs and Glens Holidays for providing the bus and look forward to working alongside other health boards and Scottish Government colleagues in developing the initiative and rolling it out to other areas of Scotland.”

The vaccination bus and car pilot aims to support Health Boards in their vaccination efforts and appointments are made via GP practices.

Dr Daniel Chandler, Associate Director of Public Health at NHS Tayside, said: “The vaccination programme is progressing well in Tayside with over 60,000 people already vaccinated across Dundee, Angus and Perth & Kinross.

“This mobile service provided by the Scottish Ambulance Service will help provide extra capacity to support our GPs and community vaccination teams as we move into the next phase of the programme.”

Neil Wells, Managing Director from Lochs and Glens Holidays, added: “It’s great to be able to help the Scottish Ambulance Service with their work to vaccinate our rural communities.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman urged everyone to take up their appointment when they are offered one, as part of one of three key ways to beat the virus, along with expanded testing and the lockdown restrictions in Scotland.