Almost 10,000 Ayrshire residents have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine since the programme got underway last month.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been given to 9,382 individuals in the region with NHS teams working through vaccinating the priority groups.

These include local patients, care home residents and frontline health and social care staff, with nearly all suitable care home residents vaccinated at this time.

From next week NHS Ayrshire and 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 the vaccine directly, inviting them to come for their first dose over the course of the coming weeks.

East Ayrshire health and social care director and primary care lead for the whole of Ayrshire, Eddie Fraser said: “It is fantastic that local GP practices will soon be delivering COVID vaccinations to the over 80s. This is the beginning of a region-wide roll out which will commence from Monday, January 11.”

NHS Ayrshire and 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.

Mr 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.”