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Norman MacKenzie and daughter Aline are getting behind NHS Western Isles’ COVID Champions campaign and encouraging all eligible islanders to take up the vaccine when it is offered to them. 

The pair, who recently received their vaccinations on the same day in Stornoway, explain their own reasons for taking the vaccine when it was offered. 

Norman, aged 86, from Lower Sandwick said, “Coronavirus and its lockdowns have been particularly difficult for the older generation. From my own perspective, being unable to see or visit family and friends, especially spending time with my grandson, as well as going about my usual business, has been exceptionally hard. I certainly have missed being able to get out and about in the way that I used to.  

“Last March a number of local clubs that I attend also had to suspend their meetings and activities because of the pandemic. One of these was the local Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group, with many of its members having to self-isolate for obvious reasons. Its members are sorely missing the weekly get together, and the camaraderie and craic it brought us all – something we could all do with just now.” 

Norman, who served two years National Service when he was younger, said he did not have any doubts about getting the vaccine when it was offered and added “I’ve been used to getting vaccinations all my life and would encourage anyone offered this vaccine to take it – if you get the chance it’s a great thing to have!”

Meanwhile busy mum Aline, whose husband works at a local school, continues to split her time between looking after their young family, working at NHS Western Isles as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, and supporting her parents with carer responsibilities.

Aline said, “It was quite unexpected that dad and I received our COVID vaccine on the same day.  I must admit I was apprehensive when I was first offered it, but I’d read up on it and, after weighing up the pros and cons, I decided it was wise to take it.”

She added, “I chose to get my vaccine primarily due to the carer responsibilities I have going on between my parents, my family and my patients who I want to do my best for.  Although there are many aspects of Lockdown I love, such as home time and a slower pace, I do feel it's important to keep each other as safe and healthy as possible.  If the vaccine eventually enables people to safely spend time with loved ones and engage in activities that will in turn help to improve our wellbeing, then this is a good thing.”

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in the Outer Hebrides is well underway, with those whose lives are most at risk from the virus being prioritised in the first phases of the vaccination programme.

If you have been given an appointment and are unable to attend or would like to rearrange your appointment, we would appeal to you to let us know as soon as possible so that your appointment can be offered to someone else, and so we can reduce the risk of vaccine wastage. To do this please tel. 0808 196 8383.