HEALTH board bosses have been forced to apologise after people living in Largs were sent to Millport for coronavirus vaccines in the midst of a ferry cancellation fiasco.

High volumes of traffic and foot passengers heading to Cumbrae on Saturday saw CalMac pull the plug on sailings around 2pm - as patients scheduled to receive a second dose of the vaccine at the DA Hall in Millport were due to travel.

The issue was worsened by the fact that only one ferry was operating - the MV Loch Shira - after the second ferry MV Loch Riddon was called away to assist on another route.

Lynne McNiven, Director of Public Health for Ayrshire and Arran, said the mix-up was 'unfortunate'.

She added: "We are aware of a very small number of people living in Largs who were scheduled their second dose coronavirus vaccine in Millport on the Island of Cumbrae.

"When we became aware of this situation we contacted most of those affected and rescheduled their appointment to Largs, but unfortunately this was not possible in all cases. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

"Anyone who receives an appointment where the date, time or location is unsuitable for them can rearrange this over the phone or online.

"We are unable to comment on the impact of the ferry disruption in relation to vaccine appointments."

This photograph by Ian Dalgleish shows the ferry queue at 11am on Saturday - with long car queues stretching up towards Charles Street as cars queued bumper to bumper waiting to board the vessel.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, who heads the council cabinet portfolio for the islands, said: "I think it is fairly obvious that someone got themselves mixed up. There are a list of towns and whoever selected these people to go to Millport clearly wasn't aware of the local situation.

"It was a basic error to make when they should be getting the jag in their home town, and with it being on a Saturday, you can always be fairly sure that when the weather is nice there is going to be a lot of traffic and foot passenger demand on the ferry.

"I am glad that nobody will miss out and they can re-book if necessary."

There were further delays on Sunday with up to two hour waits for cars and one hour waits for foot passengers and on Monday morning the MV Loch Shira ended up offline due to a technical issue.

Ms McNiven added: "Vaccination uptake has been tremendous and we can see the positive impact the vaccination programme is having in our communities, with fewer hospitalisations and lower transmission levels.

"The best way to maximise the efficacy of the vaccine is to have both doses, so I would really encourage everyone offered an appointment for that second vaccine takes the opportunity to do so."