Coronavirus in Scotland: Vaccination of under 60s to begin next week

The Covid-19 vaccination programme in Scotland is ready to ramp up in pace from the beginning of next week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Nurse Sarah MacLeod, from the Vaccination Team, gives Margaret Swift, aged 69, from Balgreen, Edinburgh, her vaccine at the coronavirus mass vaccine centre at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021.

Appointment invitations will be sent to those aged 55 to 59 from this week, Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, with the first vaccinations beginning next week.

Jags will begin for those aged 50 to 54 from the following week.

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Scotland is on course to vaccinate all those in the first nine JCVI priority groups by mid April, Ms Sturgeon said, including all those over 50, unpaid carers and those with underlying health conditions.

She added that almost 40% of Scotland’s adult population have received a jag. As of Tuesday morning, 1,789,377 people had been given a first dose and 123,686 a second dose.

Expected vaccine supply will pick up from the middle of March following an expected supply dip, Ms Sturgeon said, allowing the government to reach its target of 400,000 vaccinations a week by the end of March.

Some of the supplies which arrive from next week will be short-dated stock, meaning they will need to be used “very soon” after they are delivered.

Heath Secretary Jeane Freeman said on Tuesday: “I am delighted that Scotland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is now able to move to the final stages of vaccinating the first nine priority groups before progressing to people aged under 50.

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“We have always said delivery of the vaccination programme is subject to supply and on that basis I am confident we remain on target to offer a first vaccination to all those in the phase 1 priority groups by the middle of April and the remainder of the adult population by the end of July.

“The roll-out continues to deliver at pace, which is down to the enormous efforts of our vaccination teams. I would like to thank everyone who is working tirelessly to make this a success.”

Ms Sturgeon rejected calls from Labour Leader Anas Sarwar to prioritise certain professions for vaccination in phase two of the rollout, including police officers following the interaction of officers with gatherings of Rangers fans in Glasgow at the weekend.

The First Minister said Scotland will continue to prioritise by age group, following JCVI advice.

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