Young adults in Moray are to receive their coronavirus vaccination sooner than expected in a bid to tackle a growing outbreak of Covid-19 in the region.
NHS Grampian says 18-39-year-olds will start to receive appointments from Saturday.
The development comes just hours after the health board said door-to-door testing for coronavirus is being considered in the Moray area due to a “rapidly deteriorating” outbreak.
Katrina Morrison, clinical lead nurse for NHS Grampian’s Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “Additional Covid-19 Pfizer vaccination stock and the concerning, uncontrolled, sustained community transmission of Covid-19 in Moray, has made this decision straightforward.
“It needs to happen quickly and our staff have been mobilised to speed up the process.“
NHS Grampian says it will phone to offer appointments before moving to letter appointments from the middle of next week.
The Fiona Elcock Vaccination Centre in Elgin will also have increased opening hours between 8am and 10pm with additional vaccination channels throughout the day.
Ms Morrison added: “Working together to reduce the spread in Moray will reduce the risk of further spread to Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen.
“We urge the residents in Moray to make every effort to attend their allocated appointment time to help us protect them and the community.”
Moray Council said 48 positive cases have been associated with Elgin Academy since April 14.
More than a quarter of the school’s population of around 1000 pupils have since been ordered by public health officials to self-isolate.
The council said the students have been able to access remote learning while in quarantine.
Earlier this week, NHS Grampian launched an incident management team to try to bring the virus back under control, and is urging people to get tested even if they do not have symptoms.
The latest statistics show that Moray had 79.3 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days, significantly higher than the rate in the rest of the country.
Nearby Aberdeenshire and Highland have just ten and 11 cases per 100,000 respectively.
Test positivity in Moray is at 3.2%, while across Scotland the figure has been slightly above or below one in recent weeks.
Moray is due to move from level three to level two of the Scottish Government’s five tiers of restrictions on May 17 along with the rest of the country.