The number of residents in Ayrshire and Arran who have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been revealed.

More than 9,000 residents have now received the vaccine across the health board since the programme began on December 8.

So far, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been used on local patients, care home residents and frontline health and social care staff,

Nearly all suitable care home residents have been vaccinated, thanks to the dedicated NHS vaccination teams.

From next week NHS Ayrshire & Arran will begin rolling out first doses of the recently approved Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine to patients who are aged 80 or over living in the community.

GP practices will be in touch with those eligible for vaccine directly, inviting them to come for their first dose over the course of the coming weeks.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran Chief Executive John Burns said: “We recognise that people across Ayrshire and Arran are keen to know when they will receive their vaccinations.

“Right across the health and social care system, our staff are working tirelessly to make sure that we can deliver the vaccine to each of the relevant groups when they are due to receive it.

“This is a huge task and we ask the public to be patient with this process.

“I want to reassure everyone that we will offer the vaccinations in a systematic way, as supply of vaccine allows, to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are prioritised.”

All those aged 80 or over will receive a letter or phone call inviting them forward for their vaccination and advising them where and when they can get it.

The vaccine requires two doses to offer the best possible protection, with second dose appointments being scheduled within twelve weeks after the first dose is administered.

Delivery of the COVID vaccination across Ayrshire and Arran is aligned to the prioritisation schedule outlined by the JCVI, and communicated by the Scottish Government.

Plans for the further wide scale vaccination roll out are in the final stages and as soon as this information is available it will be widely communicated to the public.

John Burns added: “In the meantime please remember to continue following the FACTS guidance to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities and better protect our family, friends and colleagues from the negative impacts of coronavirus.”