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Forres pensioner calls for local Covid-19 vaccination centre

By Garry McCartney

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Dorothy wants a local vaccination centre for people to be able to travel to easily and safely.
Dorothy wants a local vaccination centre for people to be able to travel to easily and safely.

A FORRES woman is asking why pensioners are having to travel to Elgin to receive Covid-19 vaccinations.

Stroke sufferer, Dorothy Marshall (77) and her husband Alec (80), who has a heart condition, from Pilmuir attended Forres Health Centre and Mosset Park for their first jabs but they are unclear about arrangements for their follow-ups.

Dorothy said: “I have hardly been anywhere apart from the chemist and local supermarkets since the pandemic started. I do go on walks with my neighbour to the river – we are lucky we have places to exercise that don’t need transport to get to.

“Alex can’t walk anywhere as he has a heart condition so rarely goes out.

“To get to Moray’s new vaccination clinic in Elgin would take us two buses. I’m not allowed to drive because my eyesight is poor and if Alex took me he would be in danger of getting too close to other people.

“We don’t want to do this while we’ve been told to stay at home. Plus the First Minister herself advises everyone to stay at home and avoid sharing cars. Are they lifting the restriction guidelines for local vaccinations?

“We are told one thing then another happens!”

The Marshalls appreciated the help of Rotary Club of Forres volunteers at the health centre and Mosset Park, and the fact that they could walk there without mixing with other people.

They have appointments for their follow-up jabs in Forres but are unsure if these still stand.

Dorothy added: “They have been using Forres House Community Centre for voluntary testing which you didn’t need appointments for. Why can’t they use the centre for vaccinations too? And if there aren’t enough vaccination supplies, why don’t they split them between towns?”

Last month, NHS Grampian moved all of Moray’s satellite vaccination centres to the Fiona Elcock Vaccination Centre at the former Topps Tiles site on Elgin’s Edgar Road. Anyone who has not heard from the health board and has a local appointment is advised to contact the national booking line on 0800 030 8013. The health board has stated that with the national slow-down in vaccine supply, efforts are being concentrated on one centre.

An NHS spokesperson said: “Efforts are currently being concentrated in Elgin to ensure the programme runs as efficiently and effectively as possible. For people struggling with transport to their appointment, we have arrangements with local organisations to provide it. The Transport to Healthcare Information Centre can be contacted on 01467 536111 or email travel@thinc-hub.org for advice. Car sharing is also allowed for travel to a vaccination appointment if there are no other alternatives.”

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