Health secretary Humza Yousaf is urging under-40s to get their second Covid vaccination and not “leave the job half done” amid rising cases.
The Scottish Government said the number of cases is rising and that about two thirds of new ones are in under-40s.
Over the past month, 30% of Covid-19 related hospital admissions were in those aged under 40, and the majority of hospital admissions amongst unvaccinated people were in the under-40s age group (58%).
Yousaf said the virus is “still a significant threat” and urged people in that age group who have still to receive their second dose to book an appointment or go to a drop-in clinic.
He said: “More than 80% of the population have now received both doses and I really want to say thanks to all of them and of course, everyone involved in the delivery of our national programme.
“Scotland’s vaccination programme has been one of the fastest in the world, but it’s clear there are some people, particularly aged under 40, who have been offered a second appointment and, for whatever reason, have not yet attended.
“Our message to you is clear. It’s not too late to get your vaccine and it remains vital that you get both doses in order to give maximum protection against this virus. Please don’t leave the job half done.
“We are working to make it as simple as possible for people to get their vaccines, and have increased the options available for how and when people choose to be vaccinated, such as drop-in and open-access clinics.
“While we are in the process of emerging from the pandemic, high case rates at the moment underline the fact that this virus is still a significant threat and the importance of getting vaccinated cannot be underestimated.”
The second dose of the vaccine can be given from eight weeks after the first, either at a drop-in clinic or by requesting an appointment through the NHS Inform website.
Ian Scott, clinical lead for the respiratory (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) ECMO service Scotland, based in Aberdeen Royal infirmary, said that over the last few weeks they have been seeing increased numbers of referrals to intensive care of people aged under 40 with Covid-19.
He said: “In the UK, the average age of patients with Covid-19 requiring ECMO support is currently under forty.
“The stark fact is, none of these patients have been double vaccinated and most do not have underlying health conditions.
“Normally at this time of year we would have no patients requiring this level of respiratory support.
“The survival rate of patients with severe Covid-19 is worse than viral pneumonia.
“The risks with requiring ventilation and ECMO are extremely high and we feel that some of these deaths could be avoided.”
NHS Grampian ECMO lead nurse Lucy Fleming said: “I am under 40. To see increasing numbers of young and otherwise healthy people of my own age requiring this level of intensive care is heartbreaking.
“There is no doubt that as cases rise, it is crucial that everyone who is eligible takes up their invitation for a vaccination and gets both doses.
“No-one should consider themselves invincible to Covid-19.”