Edinburgh, Friday 17 December 2021.
NHS Lothian will re-launch a city centre mass vaccination centre as part of the battle to beat the OMICRON variant of COVID-19.
Vaccination teams will move back into the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) to open on Tuesday at 9am (December 21) to help provide lifesaving vaccines to as many people as possible.
The clinic will offer a combination of booked and drop-in appointments to help make it as easy for people to get their booster.
Just a month ago, on November 16, the programme was delivering 5,500 booster vaccines. Now a total of 10.942 doses are being administered in one day.
NHS Lothian is confident that the reintroduction of the EICC and opening of the Corn Exchange in East Lothian will help boost that figure even higher.
Pat Wynne, Nurse Director, Primary and Community Care, NHS Lothian, said: “Vaccination is more important now than it has ever been and we are really pleased to be back in the EICC in the heart of the city once more.
“We would urge anyone who still needs a first, second or booster dose of the vaccine to make an appointment or drop in to the EICC or one of the many other clinics in Lothian as soon as they are eligible.
“The best way to get your vaccine is to book in advance, using the online booking portal. That way you can avoid queues and help keep everyone safe.
“We are expecting our sites, especially our dedicated drop-in clinics, to be busier than ever before. We will run separate queues for booked and drop-in appointments, but people should be prepared to wait if they are attending a drop-in. If you do have to queue, please be sure to wear a face mask over your mouth and nose and keep your distance – even if you’re outside.”
Vaccination teams have been working flat out with EICC team to prepare the clinic for a re-opening as part of the nationwide effort to help protect lives.
Marshall Dallas, CEO of the EICC, said: "We are proud to continue to support NHS Lothian and NHS Scotland with the roll-out of the vaccine and now the vaccine booster.
“Traditionally, our venue would be closed over the Festive period, allowing our team annual leave during this time, so I can't credit our people enough for giving up their holiday time to be on site at the venue to make this possible.
“Since re-opening to events in August, we have safely and successfully hosted a series of back-to-back conferences, and we look forward to welcoming delegates back to the EICC early in the new year."
A total of 15 vaccination stations will run in the Cromdale Hall initially while more work is done to extend the facility to provide 25 booths. The rest of the venue, including the Lennox Suite, will continue as normal for conference and events.
Mr Wynne added: “We are grateful to all of the teams from the EICC for working with us once again and helping to pull this together at such short notice. Centre staff would normally be on annual leave soon and they have cancelled their holidays over the festive period just to help re-launch the clinic - we could not be more thankful.”
The EICC will join a list of other vaccination centres, which are being run by the four Health and Social Care Partnerships within Lothian, and is designed to bolster those efforts.