Nicola Sturgeon has paid special thanks to the “people across Scotland for whom Christmas will not be a holiday” in her Christmas message to the country.
The First Minister singled out key workers including the emergency services, NHS and care home workers, for praise in the public address that also hailed the vaccination effort that she called a “source of brightness through a difficult month”.
And Sturgeon, who announced a series of new restrictions earlier this week, said the getting the vaccine is a show of “compassion and solidarity” with each other.
In the statement released on Christmas Eve she said: “I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
“And I want to start by thanking the many people across Scotland for whom Christmas Day will not be a holiday at all.
“That of course includes our armed forces, our emergency services, and so many other vital services.
“And of course for many people working in care homes, and in our National Health Service, Christmas will be another working day, at the end of another incredibly hard year. So thank you.
“I also want to say a special thank you to the thousands of people, who have been involved in the remarkable vaccination effort in recent weeks. I know that many of you are working right up until Christmas Eve, and will start up again straight after Boxing Day for the run up to new year.
“The vaccination programme has been a source of brightness during a really difficult month.”
The First Minister also apologised for the restrictions brought in over the festive period meaning several events, including Hogmanay celebrations and the Old Firm game due to be played on Jan 2, have been cancelled.
She continued: “I know that, even three or four weeks ago, all of us were looking forward to a fairly normal Christmas. I am so sorry that this year’s won’t be quite like that.
“But for many of us, because of vaccination, it will still be more much normal than last year.
“Getting vaccinated is the most important way, although certainly not the only way, in which we can all protect each other, as we get through this next phase of the pandemic. Vaccination is above all else a demonstration of compassion for, and solidarity with, each other.
“By continuing to show compassion and solidarity, I hope we can all enjoy the best and the safest festive period possible.
“And of course I hope above all else that we can all look forward to a much brighter and better New Year.
“So thank you, to all of you for everything. And I wish all of you a very happy Christmas.”