Two mass centres open as vaccination of over-70s begins
The vaccination of people over the age of 70 has begun in Scotland, with two mass centres in Aberdeen and Edinburgh opening today.
Those aged 70 to 79 and the clinically extremely vulnerable - including over-16s on the shielding list - should receive their first dose of the coronavirus jag by mid-February, the Scottish Government has said.
Mass vaccination centres at Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) and Aberdeen's P&J Live are now in operation for members of the public with appointments.
The EICC will have capacity to vaccinate more than 21,000 people a week at 45 stations, while the centre in Aberdeen will start with 20 booths, vaccinating around 6,000 people weekly.
The Louisa Jordan mass vaccination centre in Glasgow has been operating since 8 December, carrying out between 1,000 and 5,000 vaccinations daily. The facility has the capacity to move to 10,000 per day.
The scale of the operations at the mass vaccination centres means letters will also start going out next week in Lothian, Grampian and Greater Glasgow and Clyde to those aged between 65 and 69 – the next group on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priority list.
Other smaller vaccination centres, located in community facilities such as village halls and sports centres, are also opening as the roll-out continues across the country.
The programme for first doses for care home residents, frontline health and social care workers and those aged 80 and over will be completed by 5 February.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Our vaccination roll-out continues to ramp up as we widen it to groups further down the JCVI priority list and I would like to thank all those involved in setting up the mass vaccination centres in Edinburgh and Aberdeen and, of course, the NHS Lothian and NHS Grampian staff who will be delivering the vaccines.
"It is testament to all those working hard to roll-out the vaccination programme that major logistical operations such as these are up and running despite the current restrictions."
The Scottish Government has come under criticism over claims it has not been vaccinating people quickly enough.
Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative health spokesman, said on Friday: "The SNP’s sluggish Covid-19 vaccine rollout is still making minimal progress.
"Last week the SNP fell behind and this week’s figures show they’re struggling to pick up the pace.
"All the SNP’s hopes to speed up their flagging rollout seem to be pinned on the last-minute rush to get mass vaccination centre open.
"There’s no doubt mass centres will give the SNP’s rollout a shot in the arm, so to speak, but it remains to be seen if they will still be lagging behind."