One year to the day since the mass vaccination drive began the Scottish health secretary hailed the country’s programme as an “overwhelming success”.
In the biggest vaccination programme ever seen, some 4,355,063 first doses, 3,962,203 second doses and 1,922,604 boosters and third doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Scotland from around 1200 locations.
Humza Yousaf, the country’s health secretary, said: “The national vaccination programme has provided us all with hope for the future. It is an overwhelming success.”
More than 17,800 vaccinators and staff at more than 750 GP surgeries have worked to administer the shots. According to a recent paper from the World Health Organisation, their hard work has prevented more than 27,000 deaths as a direct result of the rapid vaccine uptake.
“From the outset, our health boards and vaccination teams have worked tirelessly and at extraordinary pace to give everyone the opportunity to be protected against coronavirus over the past 12 months,” the health secretary said.
“In fact, they have delivered more first, second, booster and third doses per head than any of the other UK nations and we are so grateful for their professionalism and ongoing dedication,” the health secretary said.
On December 8 last year the UK’s vaccine programme began, with doses delivered to all four nations. It is now in a campaign to give out as many boosters as possible in an attempt to stop the Omicron variant in its tracks.
As the vaccination drive continues it was revealed by Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, that 99 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in the country.
The Covid-19 variant, she told MSPs on Tuesday, makes up around 4% of coronavirus cases, but the doubling time for Omicron cases “may be as short as two to three days”, and “the R number associated with the new variant may be well over two”.
And Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, told a UK Cabinet meeting that it was “too early to draw conclusions on the characteristics of Omicron” but “early indications were that it was more transmissible than Delta”.
Yousaf urged people to book an appointment to get the jag if eligible, and said: “While vaccination is the bedrock of our fight against Covid-19, with the emergence of the Omicron variant it is particularly important that we take other precautions to prevent transmission.”
He added: “So test regularly for the virus, particularly before socialising and meeting up with others from outside your household, wear face marks where required and open windows to improve ventilation.”