THIS week's Councillor Column comes from Cllr George Freeman (Independent, Lomond North).

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WE are now well into the Covid-19 vaccination rollout and most of us, especially the elderly like myself, are waiting in anticipation for that letter or call to invite us to attend for our jag.

I only hope that, unlike the start of the local rollout, we will all be able to receive our vaccination in our local GP surgeries, from friendly, local medical staff, instead of being dragged to Helensburgh for this important vaccination.

Included in the information recently issued by the Scottish Government on the locations across Scotland where the vaccination would be provided, it was clearly stated that within my own Lomond North ward, that would include the local GP surgeries at Arrochar, Garelochhead and Kilcreggan.

READ MORE: Fears over Helensburgh Covid vaccine supplies raised with MSPs

Although we can praise the GPs and medical staff at Arrochar and Kilcreggan who are providing the vaccine locally, this was not the case at the Garelochhead practice.

At the start of the programme, many of my constituents over 80-years-old were dragged to Helensburgh on a Sunday to receive their vaccine in a sports hall that had been hired for the purpose.

For some, this included a round trip of 30 miles, with additional costs and all the hassle of arranging transport which required additional Covid protection for those who do not drive.

Although I was told that no one objected to being dragged to Helensburgh for the jag, constituents have told me that they did not want to complain just in case they were put to the back of the queue.

READ MORE: 'Let us look forward' - thousands receive Covid vaccines as community rollout begins

Although my understanding is that the medical staff at Garelochhead who provide vaccines locally year in, year out, were more than happy to provide the vaccine at Garelochhead, the decision was taken out of their hands.

I can understand why those in control wanted to provide the vaccine from one central point in Helensburgh. The question is, who benefitted from this arrangement? Was it those who were arranging the delivery of the vaccine, or those elderly constituents who were to receive it?

Also, it is most disappointing that the Scottish Government stated that vaccines would be provided from Garelochhead and then go back on their word.

Thankfully, it now appears that things have changed and that vaccinations are now being delivered locally at Garelochhead.

Finally, I would again encourage everyone to take up the offer of the vaccine when they receive it.

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