Shetland coastline
Shetland coastline
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All 35 adults on one of the UK’s most remote inhabited islands have now been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Fair Isle, home to around 60 people, lies between Orkney and Shetland and is renowned for its knitwear and migratory birds.

NHS Shetland said all adults on the island were given their second dose on Monday after a small plane flew in vials of the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine encased in a cool box.

There have been no reported cases on the island, which is three miles long and around 1.5 miles wide.

Edna Mary Watson, NHS Shetland’s chief community nurse, said travelling to some remote islands by air could be challenging with unpredictable weather.

HEALTH Coronavirus

But she added: “This is all part of the challenge of providing health and care in remote and rural communities and we are very grateful and proud of our team of community nurses who understand the challenges and have a flexible and can-do mindset.”

More than two-thirds of the adult population of Shetland have received their first dose of vaccine, and more than a quarter (27%) have had both, said Dr Susan Laidlaw, NHS Shetland public health consultant.

“Once we have received further supply of vaccine that we can use for first doses, we will be calling the remaining age groups which covers those aged 18-44 who have not yet been vaccinated – approximately 6,000 people,” she said.

Shetland had an estimated population of 22,920 in mid-2019, according to the National Records of Scotland.

Fetlar, one of the north isles of Shetland, saw vaccinations completed last Wednesday when 48 people were inoculated, NHS Shetland also said.

Some 14 vaccinations are due to take place on the island of Foula next Monday.

Fair Isle is an important breeding ground for seabirds and stopover for migrating species and is well-known for a distinctive style of knitted garments.

Fair Isle bird Observatory

Its renowned bird observatory burned down in 2019 and islanders are currently fundraising for a new site.

Meanwhile in Orkney, adults on the nine most remote islands have been vaccinated in the same priority group order used on the Orkney mainland.

Orkney’s biggest remote island is Westray with a population of 600 people and the smallest is North Ronaldsay with 42 people.

Maureen Firth, NHS Orkney head of primary care services, said: “Across Orkney we have vaccinated down to age 34 and we are now busy with second vaccinations.

“On Monday this week we had administered a total of 16,891 vaccinations – some of these include second doses. This is about two-thirds of Orkney’s adult population.”

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