MORE than 75,000 people from across the Forth Valley have received the Covid-19 vaccine, the health board confirmed.

It comes after the vaccination programme was expanded to include those aged over 65 and extremely clinically vulnerable people who were previously asked to shield.

Work is underway to deliver the second doses of the vaccine to some of the initial priority groups.

This will start with care home residents as well as health and care staff.

First doses of the coronavirus vaccine will also be rolled out to the next priority groups from March 1.

This will include people aged 60 and over as well as people with certain underlying conditions between the ages of 16 and 64.

A number of unpaid carers will also be invited to receive the vaccine, subject to supplies.

Jillian Taylor, operational lead for NHS Forth Valley’s Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “We are delighted at the levels of uptake achieved so far and I would like to thank everyone who has attended a local vaccination session over the last few months.

“I would also like to the thank our local immunisation teams and GP practice colleagues who are working tirelessly to deliver the vaccine across Forth Valley as well as many council, health and social care partnership staff, military planners and volunteers who have assisted enormously with the planning and delivery of this large and complex vaccination programme.”

People in the next priority groups and those who require a second dose of the vaccine will be contacted over the next few weeks by their GP.

Unpaid carers to receive the vaccine will be identified through GP records and relevant social security benefits.

Dr Graham Foster, director of public health at NHS Forth Valley, said: “Vaccination is a vital step forward in the fight against Covid-19 it is great to see large numbers of local people taking up the offer a Covid-19 vaccine.

“However, it’s important to remember that it takes two – three weeks for the vaccine to provide protection and you must continue to follow the national guidance as it is not known whether being vaccinated stops you spreading the virus to others.

“We are still seeing high levels of transmission across our local communities so we need everyone to do all they can to limit transmission whilst we continue to roll out the vaccination programme.”