Covid Scotland: Booster booking online opens for over-18s as Omicron spreads

Booking a Covid booster online is now open for 18-to-25-year-olds in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon has received her booster and is encouraging others to follow suit.
Nicola Sturgeon has received her booster and is encouraging others to follow suit.

The move comes as part of the Scottish government’s effort to accelerate the booster vaccination scheme as Omicron cases continue to rise across the country.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 18 to 25 year olds will be able to book an appointment online from Wednesday, adding: “Boosters are how we will beat this.”

She urged people to get fully vaccinated, and said booster jabs will take priority over the flu vaccine to help speed up rollout.

One hundred extra members of the armed forces have been drafted in to help accelerate the booster vaccine rollout, which brings the total number of military personnel assisting in the programme to 221.

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The Government is seeking venues to use as drop-in vaccination centres and people will no longer be required to wait for 15 minutes after their vaccination to cut queues.

“We will continue to expand the size of the overall vaccination workforce as much as possible and make full use of any military support that is available,” Ms Sturgeon said.

In a televised statement, Ms Sturgeon urged people to “pull together and look after each other again” over the festive period and called on Scots to restrict their socialising to three households before and after Christmas amid rising Omicron cases.

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She said legal restrictions for businesses will be introduced, including “a return to the kind of protections in place at the start of the pandemic” to avoid crowding, such as physical distancing, while enabling staff to work from home where possible will again become a legal duty.

Ms Sturgeon added £100 million will be used to help businesses “mainly those in hospitality and food supply” affected by the changes and the advice last week to defer Christmas parties.

A further £100 million will go to self-isolation support grants to cover the increase in the expected level of people eligible.

Further restrictions include limiting care home visits to two households, with all visitors asked to take a coronavirus test before attending.

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The First Minister said she wants schools to remain open “if at all possible” to limit any further disruption to pupils’ education.

She warned of a “steep and rapid rise” in Omicron cases, saying they could reach 15,000 a day, posing an “impossible” burden for the health service.

She said: “Omicron can do this through sheer weight of numbers. More people infected will lead to more people with serious illness and, tragically, more people will die.

“We are also already seeing an impact across the economy, and on public services.

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“Staff absence caused by Covid means trains without drivers, classrooms without teachers, wards without nurses and businesses without workers.

“That’s why this is not a choice between protecting health and protecting the economy.

“If we don’t act now to protect health, Omicron will inflict untold damage on businesses and critical services across Scotland.”

The news comes as Scotland recorded another 110 confirmed new cases of the Omicron variant yesterday, taking the overall number to 296.

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