Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar visits Elgin vaccination centre
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SCOTTISH Labour leader Anas Sarwar has hailed the "amazing facility" at the Fiona Elcock Vaccination Centre in Elgin after paying it a visit this afternoon.
Mr Sarwar is currently on a trip to Moray, where his family hail from, and paid the hard-working vaccination team and volunteers a visit to thank them for their efforts.
He was keen to find out more about the immunisation programme in Moray – with the area having currently vaccinated more people per head of population than anywhere else on mainland Scotland.
He said: "It's an amazing facility. You can see the effort that has been put into it by the staff team and the vaccinators.
"I've been making a point, as I travel across Scotland, to visit a vaccination clinic and say 'thank you' directly to our amazing vaccinators.
"There has been a real effort from people who had retired, dentists, pharmacists or opticians, who have come to take part in the vaccine programme.
"Here in Moray, they are not just relying on people coming for vaccines, they are getting the vaccines out to people and I think that's the way to go across the whole of Scotland.
"We need to get vaccination centres set up outside football stadiums, on high streets, at public events on college and university campuses and take the vaccine to people."
Mr Sarwar took time to speak to people within the centre – including many who were queueing up for their first and second jabs.
He added: "These people working here are the real heroes of the pandemic and the ones who have helped us get our lives back on track.
"One part is thanking them, another is recognising them but we have got to make sure we are rewarding them as well.
"That's why one of the things I want us to take seriously coming out of this pandemic is adequately paying and resourcing our NHS service."
Alison Smart, Moray Covid immunisation lead nurse said the visit from Mr Sarwar was "very welcome".
On the work at the centre, she added: "We have done some unique things here and trailblazed – we were the first centre in Scotland to do walk-ins and that's been highly successful.
"We have been creative in getting people in and our rates of immunisation are pretty high.
"This is a team of people who are dedicated to the task. It has been a fantastic programme to work on."
While everybody has now been offered a first jab, with more than 85 per cent having been given both, the work doesn't stop.
The centre remains open for walk-in jabs and the team are continuing to try to reach those who haven't been vaccinated.
Mrs Smart said: "We are at the end of stage one, the initial first and second doses, but we are still trying to get the number of people vaccinated as high as we can.
"We are always open for walk-ins."
"My message to people who are unvaccinated is: we have some highly trained vaccinators at this centre. Come and have a chat wih them.
"Just because you step through the door doesn't mean we will vaccinate you. We are here to have that chat with you and support your decision.
"Come along, have a chat with us and we will work with you and help you in whatever decision you make."