Covid Scotland: All adults to be offered booster jab by end of the year

All adults are to be offered a booster vaccination by the end of the year – a month ahead of the original January deadline – in a bid to stem a rapid rise in Omicron cases, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Ms Sturgeon said that appointments would open to over 30s from tomorrow and to all over-18s later in the week as the government pledged to increase the pace of its booster rollout.

However, she warned that the rapid spread of Omicron could mean further restrictions would still be necessary, even with a fast acceleration of the booster campaign. The Cabinet is due to meet on Tuesday, when any further restrictions will be discussed.

The announcement comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to bring the deadline for booster vaccinations forward to the end of December in England too and said Westminster would support the devolved nations to do the same.

Boris Johnson addresses the public to provide an update on the Covid-19 booster programme on Sunday evening

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He warned that the UK is “f​acing an emergency in our battle with the new variant”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I can confirm that urgent work is underway to further accelerate roll out of the booster vaccination programme in Scotland.

“Scotland already has the highest proportion of the over 12 population protected with booster or third doses of all the UK nations. Now, however, urgent efforts are being made to step up the pace even further with the aim of offering a booster jag appointment to all eligible adults by the end of this year if possible.

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Every adult in Scotland will be offered a booster jag by the end of the year.

She added: “Getting booster jags into people’s arms as quickly as possible is essential given what we now know about Omicron and the importance of boosters in ensuring maximum protection against the new variant.

“Given the expected volume of cases in the weeks ahead, however, it is also possible that further, proportionate protective measures or advice will be necessary. This is true even if Omicron proves to be slightly less severe than Delta.

“The number of cases will still put significant pressure on the NHS and the economy. The government will therefore consider the latest data tomorrow ahead of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday and I will set out any decisions to parliament later that day.”

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Mr Johnson said: “No-one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming, and I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need. But the good news is that our scientists are confident that with a third dose – a booster dose – we can all bring our level of protection back up.

“​Today we are launching the Omicron Emergency Boost - a national mission unlike anything we have done before in the vaccination programme – to Get Boosted Now."

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