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Top two priority groups to get first vaccine dose by early February

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Top two priority groups to get first vaccine dose by early February

Everyone in the top two priority groups will have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by the first week in February, the health secretary has said.

It means 100% of residents and staff in care homes, frontline health and social care workers, and those aged 80 and over living in the community should have had their first jab by then.

Jeane Freeman set out a timeline for the programme in the Scottish Parliament, with people aged 70 and over vaccinated by mid-February, and those over 65 and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by the beginning of March.

"In all, this covers JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) priority groups one to five - a total of just over 1.4 million eligible individuals - vaccinated with the first dose," Freeman said.

So far, between 8 December and 12 January, more than 80% of care home residents and 55% of care home staff have had their first dose, as well as just under 52% of frontline NHS and social care workers.

In the eight days since 4 January, just over 2% of those aged 80 or over living in the community had their first jab.

Overall a total of 191,965 people have had the first dose of the Covid vaccine and 2,990 have had the second.

The programme is "scaling up rapidly" from this week and, with the second dose vaccination running parallel, the Scottish Government expects around 400,000 jabs a week from the end of February.

The vaccine is being delivered in a range of settings, including care homes, GP practices, and for people who cannot get to a local site, in their home.

As the programme is ramped up, a number of large sites will be used, including Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Ravenscraig Sports Facility in Motherwell, Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Freeman added: "The vaccine offers us hope and as we vaccinate more and more of our fellow citizens that hope becomes more real. But on its own it won’t be enough to win the race against this virus. 

"Each one of us needs to do all we can – following the guidance, abiding closely to the restrictions, washing our hands, wearing face coverings, maintaining 2m distance from each other – everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus and suppress its prevalence as low as we can, so that increasing vaccination can do the job we need it to do."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - Asymptomatic testing of care at home workers brought forward

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