Scots could be vaccinated by Christmas according to national Clinical Chief

Jason Leitch, the national clinical director of Scotland has said people in Scotland could be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Christmas.

Jason Leitch, The national clinical director of Scotland has said Scots could be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Christmas.
Jason Leitch, The national clinical director of Scotland has said Scots could be vaccinated against Covid-19 by Christmas.

Mr Leitch told the BBC’s Drivetime With John Beattie that the Scottish Government expects to have some doses of a coronavirus vaccine before Christmas.

He said that London hospitals have been told to be on standby for the Oxford Astra vaccine by Monday 2 November and while officials in Scotland are not expecting a vaccine ‘in days’ they are receiving encouraging vaccine news, he added: “Remember, no vaccine has passed all of the trials for human use at a big scale yet.“We’ve got lots of vaccine trials going on, we’ve even got some people being vaccinated and then infected with coronavirus to see what happens, around the UK and around the

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Mr Leitch said that he is hopeful there will be some doses of the vaccine available before Christmas but it will not be circulating at a population level.

When asked who the Government would be expecting to vaccinate first, Mr Leitch responded: “That will be a long and deep discussion around risk and number, of course.

“We have a four UK country clinical advisory group that people may have to get familiar with.

"They already know what Sage is – well this one’s called the JCVI, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and it in normal times tells us who to give the measles

vaccine to, who to give the flu vaccine to, which flu vaccine to use each year, because remember, it changes every year, and it will make a lot of very serious decisions and

discussions around who should get the vaccine first."

He added that officials would first have to make sure the vaccine was safe for the most vulnerable people in the country, saying: “So we don’t know if it will be safe to give to people

with pre-existing conditions or people with other problems or every age group, so we have to be very cautious and we’ll have to do that research before we give it to anybody."

Mr Leitch continued to say the vaccine would then be given to those more at risk, in a similar way that flu and measles vaccinations are administered.

He said: “So you might give it to those most at risk of health and social care, for example, health care workers.

“You’d give it to the high-risk people in your own population. So would that be those with pre-existing conditions or those who are elderly, and the JCVI will start to do that risk conversation for us.”

Mr Leitch concluded the conversation saying: “So far – and I don’t want to be misunderstood – so far the vaccine trials are going well.

“Occasionally you see them stop and start again because of the nature of viruses, if somebody gets an illness.

“But so far the vaccine trials are moving fast and well, and we would hope to get some doses, with a fair wind and if everything continues to go well, within the next couple of months.”

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