AN 86-YEAR-OLD care home resident has become the first in Helensburgh to receive the Covid-19 vaccination.

Margaret Parrish joined 16 other residents and seven members of staff at Morar Lodge in being vaccinated on Tuesday morning by NHS staff from the Jeanie Deans Unit at the Victoria Integrated Care Centre.

Further jags were due to be administered this week, as well as a second dose in three weeks’ time, on January 12, as the battle against coronavirus reaches a key turning point.

Morar Lodge care services manager, Sandra Sallie, who also received the vaccination, hailed the “positive step in the right direction” but urged a note of caution for staff, residents and families.

READ MORE: Helensburgh likely to move into level one restrictions next week

The home has been Covid-free since the start of the pandemic but Sandra warned that staff and residents are “not out the woods yet”.

She told the Advertiser: “It’s light at the end of the tunnel and it’s good for visitors as well who are getting lateral flow testing now, it makes the home a bit more secure, but we’re not out of the woods yet.

“The people who have the capacity are delighted. A lot of the residents haven’t got capacity and their families made the decision for them to get the vaccine.

“The people that have got the capacity were over the moon.

“For all of us, including the staff, it’s not that we can relax, in no manner of means, we still have to wear our PPE, we still have to be careful until the second vaccination programme is given, then after that we’ll still have to be getting tested every week, so it makes no difference just now, the testing is still done weekly.”

As reported in last week’s Advertiser, Northwood House in Sinclair Street was among the first care homes in Scotland to introduce ‘lateral flow testing’ for coronavirus as the fight against the disease gathers pace.

READ MORE: 'Lateral flow testing' for Covid-19 introduced at Helensburgh care home

The test – which can be carried out far more quickly than previous testing regimes – can be used to check if a person is infectious for Covid-19, even if they are not displaying symptoms.

The sample does not need to go to a laboratory to be analysed, and a test result is usually available within 30 minutes.

Care homes in Rothesay and Ardrishaig were also piloting the test as the Argyll and Bute health and social care partnership (HSCP) becomes an “early adopter area” for the Scottish Government’s roll-out of the much quicker Covid tests.

Other care homes across Argyll and Bute adopted the new regime from this week.

The new test allows close family members from outside of Helensburgh’s Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions to resume visits to residents.

Visits from family members who already live in Tier 2 areas such as Argyll and Bute are already permitted under specific guidance which applies to the care home sector.

Northwood is hoping to receive its first supplies of the new Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine before Christmas.

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