Coronavirus in Scotland: Professor Jason Leitch warns it will be ‘some time yet’ before fans are allowed back into sports stadiums

Professor Jason Leitch has said it will be “some time yet” before Scottish sports fans are allowed back into stadiums.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme on Monday, Scotland’s National Clinical Director also said he is not “overly worried” about claims the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is less effective against the South African coronavirus variant.

The Scotland rugby team’s historic 11-6 victory over England over the weekend, as they won at Twickenham for the first time since 1983, has led to questions on when sports will go back to normal.

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Asked when fans might be able to enjoy such occasions as Saturday’s rugby triumph in the flesh, Prof Leitch replied: “It’s going to be some time yet. I can’t give you a date.

“One of the big challenges we still have – R number down, positivity down, prevalence still too high.”

He added: “We’ve got to be really, really cautious about any opening just now.”

Speaking about the new study in South Africa which found the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was not effective at preventing mild illness caused by the more infectious mutation, Prof Leitch said everything pointed to the vaccine creating greater immunity in older people.

The initial trials of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were “relatively small”, he said, though he was not “overly worried” by the new South African study.

National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch.

Prof Leitch said: “Public confidence in vaccines is absolutely crucial and our data would suggest that’s not a big problem, in fact quite the opposite.

“If you told me three months ago that 94% of over-80s would take this injection, I genuinely would not have believed you.”

Those in younger age groups tended to be less keen to take up other vaccines, he said.

Prof Leitch added: “Everybody in the scientific community says 80% is kind of where you should aim for.

“So if you’re going to set yourself a target, set yourself a target of 80%.

“But we want more than that, we got 99.4% of care home residents, there’s a tiny number who are not eligible or they turned it down for whatever reason.

“So that’s what I want in the 30-year-olds when we get to the 30-year-olds.”

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