Scots have been urged not to delay getting a Covid booster vaccine amid warnings of rising cases of the virus in the months ahead.
Scotland’s chief medical officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith made the pleas as records show a recent rise in the number of coronavirus infections across the country.
An estimated one in 35 people across Scotland had Covid in the week up to October 10, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated.
The figure is a rise from one in 50 people previously recorded and is the equivalent to around 144,400 people.
Professor Smith made a plea for Scots not to delay their Covid and flu vaccines.
He said: “Please don’t put off getting your flu and Covid-19 vaccines – as we get deeper into Autumn/Winter I expect cases to rise further.
“Newer vaccines for both will update your level of protection and reduce likelihood of severe disease, even from newer variants.”
It comes as over 50s in Scotland, who have no underlying health conditions, will start being allocated appointments for winter vaccines from Monday.
Those aged between 50 and 64 are being encouraged to get the vaccine to protect against Covid and flu, and to help ease pressure on the NHS over the winter months.
Appointments can be made on the NHS Inform website from Monday and can be rescheduled online or through the national helpline.
Earlier in the week, public health minister Maree Todd also pushed for everyone who is eligible to take up the offer of their winter vaccines.
She said uptake has been “encouraging” so far, and that people who are vaccinated are “less likely to become seriously unwell from Covid-19 or flu”.
More than two million Scots are being offered both vaccines during the course of the winter vaccine programme, which launched at the end of August.
So far, 1,741,484 Covid-19 and flu vaccines have been delivered.
Both new bivalent vaccines, which target Omicron and the original variant of Covid-19, are being deployed alongside existing vaccines, though the vaccination individuals receive will depend on age and vaccine availability.