All adults in Scotland could be offered the first vaccine dose by July 31 if supplies hold up, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a target of offering all English adults their first dose by the same date on Sunday.
However, the number of vaccines available to Scotland dropped in the last week due to supply issues, culminating in just 13,546 people receiving the first dose on Sunday – a marked drop from earlier this month, when the peak reached more than 60,000 in one day.
Speaking at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Monday, the First Minister said: “Yes, if we have the supplies, we think we can meet the July 31 target to do the whole population.
“We’re waiting on updated supply forecasts to give me certainty and to give the health secretary certainty that we will have those supplies or we can at this stage assume we will have those supplies.
“What I’d say right now is that if we have those supplies, we will do that and we will vaccinate as quickly as possible.”
The First Minister said she had confidence in Scotland’s rollout, which she said was the highest daily rate in Europe at points last week.
“We’ve shown that we can really make this vaccination programme motor, but obviously the biggest constraining factor is going to be the volume of supplies,” she said.
“So I would hope that the JCVI list, that we’ve always said (we would vaccinate) by May, I would hope – supplies permitting – we could bring that forward to around about the middle of April, then the adult population by the end of July.
“But we need to have that certainty in supply before we can be absolutely firm about that.”
Research published on Monday said Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK could reduce a person’s risk of being admitted to hospital by as much as 94% four weeks after the first dose.
Four weeks after receiving the initial dose, the Oxford jab appeared to reduce a person’s risk of hospital admission in Scotland by up to 94%.