Data from a clinical trial of a two-dose covid-19 vaccine could be presented to US and European regulators as soon as next week after showing it is more than 90% effective.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the announcement from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech is “good news – perhaps amongst the best news that we’ve had in recent weeks”:
“Today we do have that ray of hope, that speck of light on the horizon, that at some point in the not too distant future we may have scientific developments to help us out of this pretty dark tunnel, as it has seemed in the last few months, that we are in just now.”
Ministers say they will take advice from the four UK nations’ Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation about who should get any vaccine and in what order, and how best to manage a vaccination programme, warning that it might not begin until next year.
Speaking at the Scottish government’s daily briefing, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman gave more details on how a vaccine could be delivered:
“In Scotland it will be a national plan covering the whole country, with delivery localised to ensure that we can take account of the various populations and geographies of the country.
“We will use a variety of routes to delivery and locations, some of which people will have experienced in the current delivery of the seasonal flu programme, but adding in more local delivery including the possibility of mobile units for some parts of our country where that makes much more sense. And using local knowledge from our health boards to help us do that.”
Meanwhile the Scottish government is announcing funding for the creation of 64 additional medical speciality training posts to support people to become specialists in areas of medicine that have been put under particular pressure by the pandemic, such as intensive care medicine, public health medicine, urology and medical microbiology.