Covid Scotland: Decision on vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds expected 'within days'

The Scottish Government is not yet ready to make a decision about the vaccination of 12 to 15-year-olds against Covid-19, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told Parliament.

It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded on Friday the benefits of vaccinating this age group outweigh the risks, but did not issue a recommendation for this, due to the relatively low risk to children of harm from Covid.

The UK’s four chief medical officers were asked to make a rapid assessment of the available data and give recommendations on a nation-by-nation basis.

The results of this have not yet been given by Dr Gregor Smith, but are expected “within days”, Ms Sturgeon told Parliament on Wednesday.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and deputy John Swinney walk up a corridor prior to updating MSPs in any changes to coronavirus restrictions. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell-Pool/Getty Images

The Scottish Government is also waiting for advice from the JCVI on whether or not a programme of booster Covid jags should be rolled out more widely.

Plans for a system of Covid vaccine certification are also uncertain, ahead of a Parliament debate on Thursday.

The government will publish a paper setting out how this scheme will operate ahead of the debate, Ms Sturgeon said.

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"Neither we nor any other country has the luxury of doing nothing to keep Covid under control,” Ms Sturgeon told MSPs.

"The question, especially after 18 months of restrictions being in place to varying degrees, is how we do so in the most proportionate and least restrictive way possible.

"In the Scottish Government’s view, Covid certification is a reasonable response to a very difficult situation and much more proportionate than any likely alternatives.

"Fundamentally, we believe that certification can help us reduce the overall harms caused by the pandemic. It will to help to reduce transmission in some higher risk settings and it will maximise protection against serious illness.”

Conservative leader Douglas Ross complained the proposed paper will be published too late for plans to be scrutinised.

“The First Minister’s just promised a paper, but publishing it just hours before Parliament is expected to vote on vaccine passports is not good enough,” he said.

"So far there are no details and no answers on the SNP’s plans.

"We wanted to look at the content of the First Minister's proposals, but quite frankly there is nothing to scrutinise.”

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