WITHIN my Councillor’s Column in last week’s Advertiser, I referred to the local Covid-19 vaccination programme and highlighted the problems that were being experienced by a number of elderly constituents within my Lomond North ward, some of whom were being forced to undertake a 30 mile round trip to Helensburgh to receive their vaccination.

I highlighted in my report that this problem appeared to have been resolved as I had received information that in future, the remainder of my constituents would be receiving their vaccination at Garelochhead Medical Centre.

Unfortunately I misled readers and must apologise to them. Having submitted my report to meet the Advertiser’s deadline, I discovered that yet again, elderly constituents were having to undertake round trips to Helensburgh last weekend to receive their vaccination.

As I highlighted in last week’s Advertiser, no one wanted to complain just in case they ended up being dropped to the end of the vaccination list.

READ MORE: Councillor Column: 'Some had a 30 mile round trip for Covid vaccine jag'

The Scottish Government had made it clear in the vaccination programme they produced that Garelochhead Medical Centre was one of the locations across Scotland where the vaccination would be delivered. It has turned out that the programme was not worth the paper it was printed on.

Also, the promise from the Health Secretary Jean Freeman that all over-70s would receive their vaccine invitations two weeks ago proved to be worthless.

Is it any wonder that many of us do not trust the Scottish Government and have come to the view that our rural communities are an afterthought for them?

Councillor George S. Freeman

(Independent, Lomond North)

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

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IN response to Cllr Freeman’s points, a spokesperson for NHS Highland, which is responsible for organising the government’s vaccination programme in Helensburgh and Lomond, told the Advertiser: “Our Covid vaccination programme is continuing apace and we are delighted that over 66,600 people across NHS Highland have now received their first dose of the vaccination.

"We would like to thank all staff who have been involved for their hard work in delivering this programme during what has been a really challenging time for everyone.

"In relation to the venue for vaccinations when there are large numbers of patients to be vaccinated over the course of a day, the practice is holding the vaccination clinic at Lomond School Sports Hall, as a larger venue makes it much easier to comply with the appropriate public health guidance including social distancing measures.

"When there are smaller numbers of patients to be vaccinated over the course of a day then, if appropriate from a public health point of view, they may be invited to attend the practice in Garelochhead.”

Read more news, views and local opinions here

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WITH reference to your article ‘New look on way for town ‘welcome’ signs’ (Helensburgh Advertiser, February 4), of course the signs are in a “pretty parlous state”. They were erected years ago and have received no maintenance since then.

Instead of wasting residents’ council tax on more new signs would it not be sensible to engage a professional painter to repaint the signs in a high quality gloss paint and then regild the lettering?

It’s simply far too easy to replace everything and then ignore maintenance. Would the Community Council members replace their home window frames instead of repainting?

Geoff Atkins

Via helensburghadvertiser.co.uk

READ MORE: New designs discussed for 'Welcome to Helensburgh' road signs

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IT was interesting to read in the news that Nadhim Zahawi, the UK government’s parliamentary under-secretary of state for Covid-19 vaccine deployment states that having a vaccine passport is discriminatory.

Who does it discriminate against - the people who don’t want the vaccine, I presume?

What about those who do get the vaccine? Surely if we don’t consider passports, then it discriminates against them too?

I respect a person’s right to decide on whether or not to be vaccinated. Surely we can have a system that is tailored to both those vaccinated and those not? That would be more equal and fair.

So for example, if you have a vaccine passport then your travel restrictions are less than for people who choose not to have the vaccine.

That, to me, is non-discriminatory to all and takes account of the rights and responsibilities of all citizens.

Shereen Costley

Via helensburghadvertiser.co.uk

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: February 4, 2021

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DETERMINATION is usually regarded as a positive.

Certainly this seems to be the position of the Scottish Government’s Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf. He single-mindedly is determined to advance his much criticised Hate Crime Bill. This Bill together with the proposed Gender Recognition Act has certainly stirred strong feelings within the SNP.

Indeed, the sacking of MP Joanna Cherry QC as the SNP’s justice and home affairs spokesperson is a reflection of divisions inside the party.

I am sure that none of us approve of nasty and hateful words and actions being directed at people less able to defend themselves.

At the age of 11 months I caught the viral disease then called “infantile paralysis”, now known as polio. This has left me with a ‘distinctive’ walking style.

In the 1950s and 1960s language was more direct and less subtle. Every week my parents would remind me that “sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you”. A great saying which has served me well.

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: January 28, 2021

I once told a group of children that my walking style was because I had a long leg and a short leg. They laughed.

No, really, I said – when we walk up the street together, you should walk with one foot on the pavement and one in the gutter. They did, and were shouted at by a lady for making a fool of me!

Many years later, when teaching in a secondary school, I was delighted to learn that my nick-name was ‘Hop-along’. Given my poor teaching skills, it could have been much worse!

I sometimes wonder whether the “sticks and stones” approach would be a better approach than a hate crime.

Finlay Craig

Via email

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THE SNP are too weak to fix Scotland’s police complaints system.

Dame Elish Angiolini has called for the SNP to give the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner greater powers and make it accountable to the Scottish Parliament, but the SNP have not accepted this recommendation – and many other fundamental demands from the former Lord Advocate have been kicked into the long grass.

It is deeply concerning that the SNP have built a system that is rife with discrimination and lacking in transparency and fairness.

It is vital that the SNP act on these recommendations now to repair public confidence in the integrity of Scottish policing.

Cllr Alastair Redman

(Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

READ MORE: Your letters to the Advertiser: January 21, 2021

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TO mark National Heart Month this February, I’ve teamed up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to call on the nation to do at least one thing to improve their heart health, while raising much-needed funds for the charity’s life saving work.

According to a new UK survey by the BHF, many UK adults are more concerned about their physical (63 per cent) and mental health (56 per cent) because of the pandemic.

Around half (48 per cent) say they feel unhealthier as a result. Nearly half (46 per cent) also say they’ve put on weight.

The good news is that more than half (54 per cent) of those surveyed are now determined to get more physically active.

National Heart Month is the perfect opportunity to put that intent into action and look after our hearts, particularly at a time when we’re looking for ways to boost our health while following Government guidelines.

Taking on an activity such as BHF’s MyCycle or My Step Challenge can help us move more - whether inside our outdoors - and support the charity’s vital work.

Since the start of the pandemic, the BHF has sadly had to cut investment in new research by £50 million, which will delay important scientific breakthroughs.

Having been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition as a child, I know all too well the importance of the work they do, which is why I’m encouraging the public to back the BHF and raise funds to help save and improve lives.

Roger Black MBE

British Heart Foundation Ambassador

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