Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccinations to begin in Scotland from Monday

People in Scotland will begin to receive the first doses of the newly approved Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as early as Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Giving a Covid-19 update at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said the new vaccine approval would allow Scots to be vaccinated much more quickly.

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine doses can be given 12 weeks apart, and Ms Sturgeon announced that guidance has changed around the time between doses of the Pfizer vaccine, saying they can be given 12 weeks apart as well.

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This will allow the Scottish Government to focus on giving a first dose to more people, expediating the vaccination process.

A volunteer being administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Picture: PA Media
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Oxford AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine: What does approval mean for Scotland?

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed 523,000 doses of the vaccine would be available in the UK from Monday.

This is around 40,000 doses for Scotland, which receives the product at a proportionate rate to population.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said on Wednesday morning that NHS and Scottish Government staff would work through the New Year period to get the new vaccine ready to roll out “as soon as possible”.

She said a “brighter spring” may be coming in the wake of the approval.

Ms Freeman previously said the new jab could be given to those over the age of 80 by GPs from the beginning of January.

She said the approval of this second vaccine would make it easier to vaccinate people in a wider range of settings.

Mr Hancock told the Commons the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was a “world-first” and was a “huge British success story”.

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He said: “The vaccine is the route out of this crisis and the approval this morning of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is another world-first for Britain and it’s the single biggest stride that we’ve been able to take since this pandemic began.”

Mr Hancock added: “Partnered with AstraZeneca, we’ve done a brilliant job to develop and manufacture a safe and effective vaccine at speed. I’m sure the whole House will join me in congratulating everyone involved in this huge British success story.”

The UK Health Secretary said: “We need to vaccinate as quickly as supply allows, following the necessary safety checks of course, and the NHS stand ready to accelerate deployment at scale from Monday, January 4.”

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