Scots to get first doses of coronavirus vaccine from December 8

The first minister has confirmed that the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine will be administered from next Tuesday (December 8) - if the jab is delivered as expected.

Earlier today, it was confirmed that the UK regulator had approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use.

The vaccine, which must be stored at well below freezing, will be transported to 23 locations around the country in temperature-controlled lorries.

Everyone being vaccinated will need two vaccines, between 21 and 28 days apart.

Those giving the vaccination to others will receive the injection first. The programme will then follow the independent advice received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which recommends prioritising those with the greatest clinical need - including those aged over 80, and health and social care workers.

The Scottish Government says that the storage requirements mean logistics around delivery to care homes are more challenging, a situation which is under consideration.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Today’s announcement confirming that a safe and effective vaccine can now be used is the best news than any of us have heard about the virus since the pandemic began.

"As long as we receive the first doses of vaccine when we expect to, we will begin vaccinating from Tuesday next week.

"It is of course worth remembering that everyone will require two vaccines, with the second vaccine between 21 and 28 days after the first, so even for those who are among the first, there will be very few completed until early next year.

"We intend to vaccinate the vaccinators first, followed by the priority groups recommended by the JCVI, however we also need to take account of  the conditions attached to the authorisation to supply the vaccine which will present challenges around transporting the vaccine to care homes and individual homes.

"We are therefore in the process of working through how we can ensure people in priority groups in those settings can be vaccinated.

"For all the difficulties that lie ahead, it should give us all real hope that the end of the pandemic is in sight."

Nicola Sturgeon has described it as "the best news we have heard since this pandemic started".

She said: "Today is genuinely a good day. We're not at the end of this pandemic yet, and of course, we cannot and we must not ease up in our efforts to control it. But today does feel like it may well be the beginning of the end of this horrible experience.

"And for that reason, I am sure I am far from the only one this morning who feels a lightness of heart that I haven't felt in quite some time.

"In terms of the detail, we expect vaccines to be delivered over the course of December, and we expect that that will start to happen within the next few days.

"And, if we receive the first doses of the vaccine as soon as we are expecting to - and there is no reason at this stage to doubt that - I can confirm to you that the first vaccines against Covid will be administered in Scotland on Tuesday December 8. That is just six days from now."

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