More than 113,000 people had received their first dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination by the end of last week, latest figures show, with over half of all care home residents have now received their first dose of the vaccine.
Scotland’s first Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the programme for all over the age of 80 is “underway”.
She said: “I’m able to confirm today that we’re now well over halfway through vaccinating care home residents with their first dose of the vaccine.
“That is extremely important. As you’ve just heard, more than a third of the people who died with Covid last week died in our care homes and we very much hope that the vaccine will very soon start to significantly reduce the risk of care home residents becoming ill with the virus.
“In addition, the programme for vaccinating all people over the age of 80 is underway. All over 80 year olds will be starting now to get appointments, either by phone or by letter, but I want to say today, don’t worry if you haven’t yet had your call or your letter.
“These are being aligned with availability of supply, and it will be coming to you soon. We are aiming to have all over-80s receive the first dose of the vaccine over the next four weeks.”
Up to the end of Sunday 3 January, 113,459 people in Scotland had been vaccinated. The programme for vaccinating care home residents is now well over half way through.
Since deliveries of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine started GP surgeries have already started delivering vaccine in some parts of Scotland. Those in priority lists 1 and 2 – older residents in care homes, their carers, frontline health and care workers and those over the age of 80 – are expected to get their first dose by the end of January.
It is predicted that by early May everyone over 50 and those with underlying health conditions will have received their first dose. This is everyone on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list – more than 2.5 million people in Scotland. Once everyone on the JCVI list has been vaccinated, the rest of the population will start receiving their invitations.
Timetables are dependent on vaccine supply but vaccination teams are exploring all possible options to speed up delivery and bring timescales forward where possible.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:
“Today’s figures show good progress, but now that we have access to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that will increase rapidly.
“If you are aged over 80 and have not yet been invited to your vaccine, please be reassured – you will be invited in due course.
“We are following the prioritisation list recommended by the experts at the JCVI. That means vaccinating the people at most risk from COVID-19 first. After updated guidance we are ensuring that as many people as possible in the priority groups get their first dose as soon as possible. However, it is really important to stress that everyone will get a second dose within 12 weeks.
“We have over 1,100 vaccination sites including over 750 GP practices involved in the delivery of this vaccine and a growing core of over 3000 trained vaccinators to deliver the vaccine, including dentists, GPs, pharmacists and optometrists.
“This is the biggest logistical challenge in the history of Scotland’s NHS but there is a huge effort from our health and social care staff right across Scotland to make sure it is a success. I thank each and every one of them. Everyone can play their part in delaying the spread of the virus further by staying at home and staying safe.”