DOCTORS in Helensburgh and Lomond have set an ambitious target of offering everyone aged between 18 and 40 in the area a first Covid vaccine dose by the end of this month – ahead of the national schedule.

Almost two thirds of all adults in the area were fully immunised as of Tuesday, June 1, while around three quarters of the same population have had their first dose of a vaccine.

Dr McLachlan and Partners at Helensburgh Medical Centre is due to start rolling out first dose Pfizer vaccines for the Burgh and Garelochhead practices this weekend, at Lomond School sports hall, with arrangements for Kilcreggan and Arrochar being made locally.

And Dr Brian McLachlan, locality clinical lead for the Helensburgh and Lochside area, is encouraging everyone to take up the offer.

He said: “In our Helensburgh and Lochside population of 23,700 patients, 83 per cent (19,500) are over 18 and are eligible for two doses of Covid vaccinations.

“If an ambitious 90 per cent take-up target is reached, this is around 35,000 vaccinations in total, all delivered in your locality.

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“Please attend for your appointment. If you have not heard from your practice by June 18, then please contact them.

“I appeal to our younger patients to follow the lead from our elders.”

All over-40s in the area are being urged to make an appointment as soon as possible for their first dose if they have not already done so.

Stock figures indicate there are enough Astra Zeneca vaccines locally to achieve 90 per cent immunisation of all over-40s receiving both doses; the 40-49-year-old age group is currently sitting at 78 per cent take-up for first doses.

Dr McLachlan said: “We believe in the vaccine programme. We believe that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows the value of Covid vaccination in preventing Covid and in particular preventing death and hospitalisation.

“It gives us the best opportunity of getting our society back to normal. We can only achieve this with you, our patients’ help. All our staff have been vaccinated.

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“Seventy per cent is often quoted as the figure required for herd immunity. However, the higher the vaccination, the higher the herd immunity, 70 per cent is a minimum and 90 per cent is better.

“Herd immunity from a vaccination programme is a good thing.

“The vaccine doesn’t give complete protection and this is true of most vaccines. Vaccination, however, reduces transmission, serious illness, hospitalisation and death and helps open up society.

“If we can get the herd vaccination as high as possible in our community, then we protect the community, protect our herd, protect our elderly and vulnerable.

“Just because your parents and grandparents are immunised, doesn’t mean you cannot infect them and in fact we have admitted immunised parents who caught Covid from un-immunised children.

“There is a bit of societal responsibility here, like giving blood. I would like to see us achieve 90 per cent vaccination in all age groups including 18-39.

“I see in Glasgow the failure to attend rate last weekend was very high at 50 per cent. We believe that we are achieving high rates because we are local and know our patients.

“Let’s make Helensburgh and the lochside the best vaccinated community in the UK and make it safe for everyone. Let’s make 90 per cent vaccination in the young 18-39 group something that we can do. Let’s look after our community, our herd.

“Tell your friends and relatives to come along when they receive their appointment. This will help all our families feel safe.”

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