Jeane Freeman said the ability of Scotland to provide the latest coronavirus vaccine to individuals over 50 by the spring deadline will depend on supply.
The Scottish health minister announced that next week, Scotland will receive 44,000 doses of the Covid 19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca, with procurement and distribution preparation continuing for the four nations.
The Scottish government announced that it would be given to citizens north of the border beginning Monday, along with the rest of the United Kingdom countries, after the second vaccine was approved on Wednesday.
Schools alert about the mutant Covid strain that now rules Scotland.
Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland show, however, Ms. Freeman acknowledged that without solving the supply issue, the goal of vaccinating anyone over the age of 50 by spring could not be guaranteed.
It can’t be a guarantee because it depends on availability,” Ms. Freeman said, “but what I do know is that our preparation is completed.
It’s our model and the number of registered vaccinators we have.
As long as all vaccine supplies come to us, we are able to provide the vaccine to those on the priority list of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) – so everyone over 50 – and we will do that as long as the supplies come in in the spring.
“That’s very positive and good news, because that’s a group of people that the expert committee has identified as being most at risk for contracting and dying from Covid-19,” he said.
“It’s really important that we work as hard as we can to make sure we vaccinate these individuals as soon as possible.”
Ms. Freeman said on Wednesday that the vaccination priority list established by the JCVI remains unchanged, requiring a second dose of both vaccinations within 12 weeks.
The Minister of Health has announced that to assist with the rollout, Scotland has 2,300 licensed vaccinators ‘with the right clinical expertise,’ with the intention of expanding it to care homes soon.
“Ms. Freeman added: “The next group of individuals, and the group that really opens the door to AstraZeneca’s vaccine so that we can easily vaccinate them, are those that are over 80 who live in their own homes, living in the community and not in nursing homes.
Coronavirus: all Scots over 50 to be spring vaccinated
“We’re going to do that through family practices, pharmacies and local vaccination centers,” he said.
But we will use those larger centers as we reach larger numbers of people, and people who might be more mobile and easier to reach larger centers, but initially the family practice and local pharmacy will be the venue.
“Also, we’re going to introduce mobile vaccination centers because large parts of our country, as you know, are remote and rural – it’s hard for people to get to the cities and so on, so the trick is to get the vaccination to as many people as possible.”