Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to be delivered from next week to selected health boards

Scotland will begin receiving doses of a third Covid-19 vaccine from next week, the Chief Medical Officer has said.

Dr Gregor Smith told a Covid-19 media briefing on Thursday that although there is no date yet set for the first Moderna vaccine jags to be given, he expects doses to begin arriving “as early as next week”.

However, not all health boards will receive this vaccine type, due to difficulties in storage and distribution, and it will be sent only to mass vaccination sites in Lothian, Glasgow and Grampian.

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It comes as 2,493,327 have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Scotland, and 399,062 have received a second dose.

A scientist working on the Moderna coronavirus vaccine.
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The UK has ordered 17 million doses of Moderna vaccine, of which Scotland will receive around eight per cent based on population.

As not all the supply will arrive immediately, National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said the Moderna doses will not make a particularly large impact on supply in Scotland.

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“It will be an additional arm of the vaccine programme but it will not be at the scale we've got yet atround AstraZeneca and Pfizer,” he said.

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"But it will be help, and it will come.”

The Moderna vaccine requires cold storage freezers and specialist equipment, meaning it is more suited to rollout at large vaccination centres with more resources.

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“It’s very similar in terms of its basis to the Pfizer vaccine that we've been using already, and that necessitates some additional storage requirements, that we have catered for in those mass vaccination centres,” said Dr Smith.

"I expect the first doses of those vaccines to arrive in Scotland as early as next week.”

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The Moderna vaccine is already in use in several countries around the world, including Ireland and the US.

Professor Leitch added that overall vaccine supply is still expected to allow the Scottish Government to meet its target of offering a first dose to all over 50s, unpaid carers and those with underlying health conditions by mid April, despite “lumpy and bumpy” supply.

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There are no plans to alter vaccination priority groups after this date in light of recent supply issues, he added.

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