First Minister confirms doses could be administered from Tuesday 8th December
The UK has become the first country to approve the use of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
Around 40 million doses have been ordered by the government, with 800,000 doses of the vaccine expected to be available in the UK next week and a share being made available for Scotland. The vaccine was 95% effective for all groups in the trials, including elderly people. It requires two doses per patient, with a 21 to 28 day gap between doses so the first wave of vaccinations are not expected to be completed until early 2021.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in her coronavirus briefing this afternoon that this is “without a shadow of a doubt the best news we have heard since the pandemic started”, and went on to say that “today feels like it may well be the beginning of the end of this horrible experience”.
Following advice from the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), Sturgeon also confirmed that once those giving the jabs are vaccinated, older residents in care homes, health and social care workers, and those aged over 80 will be among the first groups of people to receive the vaccine.
Sturgeon confirmed that if the initial delivery of vaccines is received as expected, then the first doses will be available as early as next Tuesday. However, the First Minister warned that this is a massive logistical operation and that the country must still remain vigilant in combating the virus.
Everyone in Scotland over the age of 18 will eventually be offered a vaccination, though the First Minister has stressed that it will not be mandatory and that the government is “not planning sanctions” for those who choose not to get it.
Commenting on Sturgeon’s announcement, local MSP Bruce Crawford said that “this is very welcome news”, and that “after a horrendous year for all of us, finally, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel”.
“Clearly there is some way to go on this, and as the First Minister indicated, there will likely be bumps in the road as a full vaccination programme is rolled out to the entire country. However, there is now cause for hope.
“I’ll be working very closely with the Scottish Government, the local NHS board, and relevant authorities to help ensure that people receive vaccinations as quickly and through as smooth a process as possible.”
Alyn Smith, the local Stirling MP, also added, “There’s cause to feel relief right now as it looks like we’re on the right track to finally call an end to this terrible pandemic. This will not happen overnight however, and the process could take some time yet to ensure vaccines are rolled out as far and wide as possible.”
“It’s crucial to remember that the virus remains a danger to us all, and it’s critical that we ensure that we are following the rules in order to keep each other safe.
“Vulnerable groups, including older people, will likely receive their vaccinations first, which is the right way to do this as statistically, more vulnerable people are more likely to face severe illness if they are infected with the Covid-19 virus.”
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