Health staff, care homes and over 80s to get Covid vaccine first

Military will be drafted in to help roll out the vaccination programme in Scotland.

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Frontline health workers, care home residents and staff and over 80s will be first to get a coronavirus vaccine in Scotland.

Next in line will be over 65s and younger people with underlying health conditions likely to badly affected by the virus.

More than one million people in Scotland could be vaccinated by the end of January, the health secretary Jeane Freeman told parliament on Thursday.

Everyone aged over 18 – around 4.4m people – will eventually be offered the protection from Covid-19, with rollout possibly starting from the first week of December if a vaccine is approved by then.

A number of manufacturers say they have created vaccines which are more than 90% effective, with final checks ongoing before they can be used.

Freeman said the vaccination programme would be “one of the biggest civilian logistical challenges in our lifetime” with the military being deployed to help with the rollout.

She added that talks had been taking place with NHS and council planning teams and the British Medical Association to ensure 2000 vaccinators and support staff were available.

Jabs will take place at public locations, mobile sites and in some people’s own homes, with two doses required three weeks apart.

Freeman said there would be a “rigorous” testing process before any vaccine could be licensed and approved for use.

She said: “We’ve seen unprecedented investment worldwide and research development and manufacture people across the world – including here in Scotland – volunteering to take part in clinical trials, and driven and dedicated research teams.

“That is why we’re seeing these front-running vaccines delivered in months, rather than the many years that vaccine development can sometimes take.

“It is impressive but it is not at the expense of safety.”