Dr Gregor Smith has written to NHS and public sector leaders outlining how the 476,000 doses of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine that Scotland will receive over this month will be used.
NHS boards are being asked to prioritise staff providing the vaccine and workers deemed most at-risk because of their age.
Care home residents and staff will be vaccinated in the initial wave but a ‘limited supply’ means this will not be offered to all over-80s.
The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency last week approved the first covid-19 vaccine for use in the country, with the first vaccinations taking place tomorrow.
Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the vaccine would be first given to priority groups where it could “address 99% of preventable deaths associated with covid-19”.
The list of who gets the vaccine was developed by the expert Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), who said vaccinations should start with care home residents and staff, before moving to over-80s and healthcare workers, followed by other age and clinically vulnerable groups.
In a letter published this week but dated 4th December Scotland CMO Dr Gregor Smith says a further ‘phased approach’ is required because of a ‘limited vaccine supply’ and outlines a breakdown of where the first jabs will go.
The Pfizer BioNtech vaccine requires two jabs per person, so half of the 476,000 will be held back to be used as second doses.
Top of the initial priority groups are care home residents, who will have doses taken to them by the NHS, followed by staff in these homes.
The NHS is being asked to assist care home staff in getting to NHS board vaccination centres, as well as by vaccinating in care homes.
The third group is health and care staff in ‘direct face to face’ contact with patients, who will be vaccinated in the same centres.
Boards are asked to vaccinate to cover vaccinators and ‘others based on a risk assessment taking into account factors such as those who are working in covid red areas and age (older staff)’.
The next group is long-stay inpatients in hospitals aged over 80, who have a similar level of risk as care home residents.
The letter states that over-80s who are not in these groups are not being recommended for vaccination at this stage.