South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that times for drop-in vaccination centres have been increased across Dumfries and Galloway, but has said an even more flexible, innovative approach is needed to target hard to reach groups.
Cases have been steadily increasing across the south of Scotland in recent weeks and last week drop in vaccinations centres were opened across the region to anyone over the age of 18 who has not yet received a first dose of vaccination and for anyone who has waited more than 8 weeks for their second dose. However, times for centres were during the day and only weekdays, but this has now been extended to some evenings and weekends.
Colin Smyth said: “I called for the use of drop-in vaccination centres so I welcome the fact that not only have they been established now on a regular basis, but the times they are open have been expanded.”
“It was a bizarre that when we are targeting working age people whose take up of the vaccine has been slightly lower, that the drop-in centres were originally only open during normal working hours, so I am pleased we now have weekend and evening sessions”.
“However, I think we can be even more innovative. For example, in the next few weeks we will see larger crowds being allowed back into football matches, so why not use our local team’s stadiums for drop-in vaccinations centres a few hours before a game and get clubs to promote the importance of getting vaccinated to their fans. On a Saturday afternoon why not use premises in our town centres when people are out shopping. We also need a targeted approach to ensure everyone returning to university from the region are vaccinated before they head back to campus”
“We have to take the vaccine to where people are if we are to get to those harder to reach groups such as young people who maybe don’t think vaccination is not for them. Until everyone is vaccinated, everyone won’t be safe.”