Nicola Sturgeon confident Covid-19 vaccine target has been met in Scotland

PA Scotland Reporters

The Scottish Government has met its target of offering the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine to everyone in the top four priority groups, Nicola Sturgeon said.

The First Minister spoke as Scotland recorded no deaths with Covid-19 in the past 24 hours for the first time since January 18 – though figures are often lower at the beginning of the week as registration offices are closed at weekends.

A total of 559 positive tests were recorded since Sunday, bringing the total number since the start of the pandemic to 192,375.

The death toll remains at 6,715 under the daily measure.

A drive-through Covid-19 vaccination centre
A drive-through Covid-19 vaccination centre has opened in the car park of Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, East Lothian (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking during the Scottish Government’s daily briefing, the First Minister said levels of uptake of the vaccine had so far been “significantly beyond” the target of 80% set out in the deployment plan.

She said “pretty much everybody” living in care homes for older people had been given their first injection, with this also applying to “close to 100%” of the estimated number of people aged over 80 and living in the community.

Meanwhile, more than 99% of those aged 75 to 79 have had their first injection, along with 85% of those aged 70 to 74 with Ms Sturgeon saying many in this group are “maybe getting vaccinated today”.

More than half (53%) of those aged 65 to 69 have also had their first jab.

“Today, mid-February, is the final day of the period during which we said we would have offered the vaccine to everyone over 70 and everyone who has an extreme clinical vulnerability,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“We will report today’s numbers tomorrow but I can say now that we are satisfied that we have met that target.

“Everyone in these groups has been offered the vaccine.”

But she stressed that “we cannot rule out that some people may have slipped through the cracks”.

“These are without a doubt significant achievements,” she added.

“In the weeks ahead we expect the first doses that have now been given to people in these groups will reduce deaths from Covid significantly, and they will also have an impact, although perhaps a smaller one, on hospital admissions.”

But Ms Sturgeon said the rate of vaccination “may well decline a bit” this week.

“We are unlikely to vaccinate more than 30,000 people a day this week,” she said.

The First Minister explained this was because of high uptake of the vaccine in recent weeks and because of a lower supply of vaccine available.

But she said vaccinators would be able to “pick up the pace … as soon as supplies allow”.

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