The first coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations could be given to health and social care staff, older care home residents and those over 80 years old who live in the community from as early as December 2020.
Updating Parliament on the safe delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP outlined that the first groups to be prioritised for vaccination have been identified based on current independent clinical advice.
Once these initial priority groups have been vaccinated, those over 65 will be offered the vaccination along with those under 65 who are at additional clinical risk, before moving on to the wider population over the age of 18.
An agreement has also been reached with the British Medical Association on the terms and conditions of GPs’ involvement in the programme.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman MSP said:
“I want to be clear that safety is paramount in our approach to the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“The global scientific, research and pharmaceutical community has come together and worked as never before. That is why we are seeing the front running vaccines delivered in months rather than years, but it is not at the expense of safety.
“Any COVID-19 vaccines deployed in Scotland will be used on the basis of compelling public health grounds, and only when the regulatory bodies and those charged with providing independent clinical advice are satisfied in terms of vaccine safety and effectiveness. The groups we vaccinate first will also be those most at risk from COVID-19.
“Scotland has a strong track record of delivering immunisation programmes, but this programme will be the largest of its kind ever undertaken and we will need more than 2,000 vaccinators and support staff by the end of January for the first phase.
“This is a national vaccination programme which will set out clearly the parameters within which NHS Boards will lead local delivery.
“NHS Boards will identify acceptable and accessible locations, both for mass vaccination and for local access.
“Taking account of local population and geography, they will undertake recruitment and deployment of staff, and the management of local vaccination clinics.
“We will be getting in touch with the first priority groups in the coming weeks and I urge people to take up the vaccine when they are offered it. It offers additional protection that we don’t have by other means.
“I also want to thank those who are not in the first priority groups for their patience as we protect the most vulnerable people in our communities first, in line with the scientific and clinical evidence.
“The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others from the virus in addition is to continue to check and follow the Scottish Government’s guidance for your area and above all to follow FACTS.”
The full statement to Parliament can be read here.
Remember FACTS for a safer Scotland:
F – Face coverings
A – Avoid crowded places
C – Clean your hands regularly
T – Two metre distance
S – Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms
Visit nhsinform.scot/coronavirus for more information.