Covid vaccine Scotland: who will be first to get the coronavirus jab, which vaccines will be available - and when will they be ready?

Jeane Freeman “as confident as I can be” the vaccination programme will begin before Christmas

Scotland is bracing itself to deploy and administer a first wave of vaccinations to combat coronavirus.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said she is “as confident as I can be” the vaccination programme can begin before Christmas, if a vaccine is approved.

The programme is designed to offer everyone over the age of 18 in Scotland a Covid vaccine - a total of 4.4 million people - by spring of 2021.

Jeane Freeman confident of Scotland starting up its vaccine programme before Christmas, if one is approved. (Pic: Getty Images)

To ensure the programme runs as smoothly as it can, around 2,000 people will be required to carry out the vaccinations, aided by support from the military.

None have yet been given the green light but Pfizer and Moderna have revealed plans to apply for the necessary approvals by the end of November.

Who will be the first to get a vaccine?

The programme will see a phased rollout of any effective vaccine, with those people most at risk of catching the virus at the front of the queue.

Frontline NHS and social care staff, care home residents, care home staff, unpaid carers and personal assistants, people aged 80 and over and those delivering the vaccination programme will all be prioritised in the first wave of vaccinations.

Following this, and if there are no delays, people over the age of 65 and younger people with extra clinical risks will then be next in line before the wider general population.

Where will people receive a vaccination?

A range of public and private locations are being considered to best suit the person and the situation at the time the jab will be administered.

Some walk-through and drive-through clinics used for the flu vaccination programme are being considered for use in the rollout of the Covid vaccine.

When will it happen?

Ms Freeman said the Scottish government is ready to begin the programme in the first week of December if an effective vaccine has been approved.

The programme could see 320,000 doses deployed across Scotland in the first two weeks of December and up to one million people receive a Covid vaccine by the end of January.

The second wave of people will then be offered the vaccine as the wider population is targeted, with the hope of everyone over the age of 18 receiving it by spring.

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What did Jeane Freeman say?

When asked on BBC Scotland how confident she is that the vaccination programme can begin next month, Ms Freeman said: “I’m as confident as I can be, assuming that the vaccine does arrive, that it is approved, what we have done is we have planned on the basis that the vaccine will be with us in December.

“That means that we are ready as soon as it arrives and if it is approved and the doses arrive the first week in December then we are ready.

“If the approval bodies need any more evidence from Pfizer and that means it takes a wee bit longer, then we will still be ready when the approval comes through.”

Asked what percentage of the population would need to be vaccinated, she said: “There is not an exact number we’ve been given by our scientists or clinical advisers.

“The intention is to vaccinate as many people as we can and we will be putting out a lot of information with people to reassure them on its safety and I think we will get a big response from people in Scotland.”