FM urges extra caution among those not double vaccinated
The First Minister has urged caution among those who have not yet received two doses of a COVID vaccine as lockdown restrictions are set to ease for much of the country overnight.
At the coronavirus briefing on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon said the UK was “at a very critical juncture” as the number of new positive tests (992) in Scotland hit its highest since 17 February.
The R-number is now estimated to be above one and some experts believe the country is now at the start of a third wave, Sturgeon confirmed.
Glasgow is set to move down to level two lockdown from midnight, while much of the country outside of the central belt will go into level one.
However, 13 local authority areas including Edinburgh and Dundee are remaining at level two as an extra precaution.
Sturgeon said: “There is still a need to exercise great care, and this is especially the case if you or someone you are interacting with hasn’t yet had both doses of the vaccine.
“Although limited indoor meetings are possible, please meet outdoors as much as you can and please follow all of the public health advice.”
New data has found the Delta variant (also known as the Indian variant) may increase the risk of hospitalisation, though Sturgeon added there is a “strong indication” that the vaccine was weakening the link between rising case numbers, hospitalisation and death.
However, she urged people to get double vaccinated as this provided the best protection.
The latest statics show 3,326,005 adults in Scotland have received one dose, while 2,170,570 are double vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children aged 12-15.
National clinical director Jason Leitch said this was “fantastic news” and UK vaccination taskforce will make a decision on what next.
However, he added: “I don’t anticipate 12 to 15-year-olds being vaccinated this week or next week. We’ve still got quite a lot to do with second doses for the at-risk population, because this is still an unusual event to be seriously unwell as a child.
“But young people can help us when we get to that age group because they can help us with the protection of the whole population. Every single vaccination helps all of us.”