The first vaccines against coronavirus will be administered in Scotland on Tuesday, should the Scottish Government receive the jabs as soon as is expected.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at the daily briefing on Wednesday: “You can perhaps understand why I probably smiled more in the last few minutes than you have seen me do in several months.”
People will be required to take two doses of the vaccine and these will likely be offered 21 to 28 days apart.
It means it could take until early in the new year to complete the first vaccine courses for any individual.
Sturgeon added: “There is no doubt that being able to have this degree of confidence that we can start a vaccination programme next week is absolutely fantastic news.
“We will of course start by vaccinating the people who will be vaccinating everyone else as you would expect, and we will then follow the independent advice we’ve received from the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation.
“They have recommended prioritising those with the greatest clinical need, including older residents in care homes, health and social care workers, and those aged over 80.
“These groups will therefore be the first people that we will seek to vaccinate.”
Sturgeon, who confirmed another 38 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, said a vaccine meant there was cause for “real hope” now.
The announcement comes after the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech was approved in the UK. The jab has been shown in studies to be 95% effective and works in all age groups.
Around 800,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to be available in the UK next week, with Scotland getting a population share.
The Scottish Government is currently planning its distribution of the vaccine, which needs to be stored at very low temperatures.
Calls have already been made for the government to appoint a vaccine minister to oversee the process and ensure delivery is “quick and effective”.
Ian Murray MP, shadow Scottish secretary, said: “The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine will be one of the largest organisational challenges our country has ever faced, and we must be prepared for that.
“The news of the approval of the vaccine is incredibly encouraging, and will be met with delight by people across the globe.
“With the UK approving the vaccine ahead of other countries, the rollout here will be the first in the world. It is critical that it is done safely and as quickly as possible to help save lives.”
Murray claimed the “shambolic rollout” of the flu vaccine this winter did not inspire confidence among Scots and said “the government must do all that it can to ensure the Covid-19 vaccine does not face the same issues.”
Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson urged the First Minister to “provide answers” to questions MSPs have regarding the rollout of the vaccine.
She said: “The public needs to hear answers from the First Minister and the plans have to be scrutinised fully by parliament to avoid any pitfalls, such as the postcode lottery that occurred with the flu jab rollout this year.
“The first vaccine will be delivered in less than a week, so it’s deeply disappointing to reject an urgent statement when this is plainly urgent.
“For everyone out there wondering when their elderly relatives in care homes will get the vaccine, nothing is more important, and the government needs to start treating it with the urgency it deserves.”
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