Pledge to vaccinate 400k Scots a week by end of February


Scotland’s national covid-19 programme will be able to vaccinate 400,000 people a week by the end of February, the government has pledged in a new plan.


The document has been re-published today after an initial version was withdrawn because of concerns supply figures breached commercial confidentiality.


Under the strategy, the 3.4 million people who are over 50 or more at-risk of coronavirus will get their first vaccine dose by early May.


Within that group the target for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, meaning they have to shield, and over-70s is mid-February.


A total of 225,000 people in Scotland have received their first jab as of Wednesday.


By the middle of this week, the programme had reached 80% of care home residents and just over half of care home staff, as well as half of frontline NHS and social care staff.


At that stage, just over 2% of over-80s living in the community have been vaccinated.


A national booking system will be used to inform all the remaining groups of their appointments. This includes all over-50s, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable or at higher risk of serious disease (regardless of age) and unpaid carers.


The service will launch by phone on 1st February and online shortly after, the vaccination plan states.


Speaking in the Scottish Parliament earlier this week, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said mass vaccination centres handle 20,000 people a week would be used, as well as using GP surgeries, local clinics, mobile units and community pharmacists.


Locations have already been secured in Edinburgh, Bathgate, Musselburgh, Aberdeen, and Motherwell, as well as the NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow.


Ms Freeman said more sites are being secured, particularly in Glasgow.


The document states that there is “sufficient inbound supply” to support the targets it pledges but cannot provide specific detail due to this being “commercially sensitive”.


Meanwhile, a document to help clinicians answer questions patients have about the vaccine has also been published, explaining the changes to the original timing between the first and second doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the importance of people being given the same vaccine for both doses rather than mixing the different brands.


By Henry Anderson


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