Queen of the South Arena to become vaccine hub as infections surge

Queen of the South Arena Credit: ITV Border

The Queen of the South Arena in Dumfries will be used as a vaccination hub in the battle against COVID-19. 

The site has been selected by the local Health Board as one of the locations where people will receive a jab. 

The first dose is set to be administered there on Monday the 18th of January.

As a community club we are pleased to be able to offer our facilities as a hub and for them to be put to good use.

Queen of the South FC

The announcement comes as the latest coronavirus infection data shows Dumfries & Galloway has the second-highest rate of infection in all of Scotland. 

420 cases per 100,000 people were recorded in the 7 days to the 7th of January.

The Scottish Borders has the tenth-highest infection rate with 312 cases per 100,000 people.

The local health board in Dumfries says the rise is being "fuelled by the new variant" which accounts for 89 per cent of all new infections. 

On Friday NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s Interim Director of Public Health Valerie White said: “The challenge we face as a region is unlike anything we’ve confronted to date. In short, the impact of this new variant is a complete and dramatic game changer.  

“The latest data shows the new variant accounts for nearly 90 per cent of our cases tested through the Mobile Testing Units.  

Credit: PA

“In the space of just two or three short weeks, we’ve seen Dumfries and Galloway with its population of about 150,000 people move from being a region with some of the lowest rates of COVID to being near the top across the whole of Scotland in terms of infection rates.  

“Our region has been fantastic to date in beating this virus, but we now have the challenge of our lifetime facing us.   

“Although this new strain is incredibly highly transmissible, COVID does not move around and infect new people by itself; the risk is controlled by us and our contact with others.  

“We’re a region of families, friends and communities, but as difficult as it is we need to stay apart as much as possible and do everything we can to protect Dumfries and Galloway. The two metre rule has never been more important, but the message now across Scotland as a whole is key – to save lives, stay at home.  

 “Currently, data is revealing that in addition to the hundreds of confirmed cases of the new variant there could be still many more cases across the region, some of whom will be asymptomatic, potentially spreading that infection without their knowledge.” 

Due to the rates of infection and severe pressures on hospitals NHS Dumfries & Galloway has also suspened some elective procedures.   

 Valerie White continued: “This is not a decision taken lightly. However, admissions to hospital are increasing, and if we follow the current trajectory we can expect to see our services put under strain like never before.  

 “This does not impact just on those who might contract COVID-19, but has consequences for how we provide essential care for those who need it for any reason, whether that’s heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, etc.  

“This is a message to you, as an individual. Everyone has a responsibility here. There can be no ‘it’s just me’ exceptions. This new variant offers no margin for that risk, by anyone.  

  “Please, though, know that our health and social care services are still here to help, and are geared to protect against COVID, so do not hesitate to get in touch if you have a medical condition. Do, though, consider the best first point of help.  

 “Also, please note that our vaccination programme is rolling out at pace, so there is hope.  

 “But we do face very difficult times ahead, and we can only stop this if we all play our part – every single one of us.”