Covid in Scotland: First vaccine delivery due next month

Covid in Scotland: First vaccine delivery due next month

The first vaccination against coronavirus is expected to be delivered in Scotland next month, the health secretary has announced.

Jeane Freeman said the NHS would be ready to vaccinate people from the first week of December if safety approval is given.

It is hoped up to one million people could be vaccinated by the end of January if there are no delays.

Frontline NHS and care workers will be among the first recipients.

Ms Freeman said distributing the vaccine would be one of “the biggest civilian logistical challenges in our lifetime”.

The health secretary said it was not yet known which vaccines would be approved for use or precisely when the first doses would be delivered.

She added: “The safety of the Covid-19 vaccine is paramount to us.”

Everyone over the age of 18 in Scotland, a total of 4.4m people, will be offered the vaccination.

The priorities for the first wave of vaccine distribution, from December to February, are:

The next tranche of immunisations is expected to take place from February if there are no delays. It will target those over the age of 65 and younger people with extra clinical risks.

They will be followed by the wider general population.

A workforce of about 2,000 vaccinators will be needed, and support from the military will be provided to ensure the vaccination programme runs smoothly.

Ms Freeman said that if the vaccines at the most advanced stage get regulatory approval then the Scottish government hopes to have 320 doses to deploy in the first week of December.

The logistics of how the vaccines are transported and stored are still being addressed, she added.

The vaccines will be delivered in a range of public locations, as well as through mobile sites and in some cases in people’s homes.

Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said lessons needed to be learned from the “chaotic” flu vaccination programme.

She added: “The ambition to deliver one million vaccinations by the end of January needs to be matched by resources and investment in staff, and a clear plan on logistics.”

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