Omicron Scotland: All adults to be offered Covid booster vaccine by end of January
All adults in Scotland will be offered a booster Covid-19 vaccine before the end of January, the Scottish Government has said.
The confirmation comes after Boris Johnson made this commitment for England on Tuesday, adding that at least 400 military personnel would be employed to help, with temporary vaccination centres “popping up like Christmas trees".
The Scottish Government is “exploring options” to involve the military and set up further vaccine centres, a spokesperson said.
"We are aiming to offer the booster vaccine to everyone aged 18 or older who is eligible by the end of January, in line with the JCVI’s advice, and we will confirm our approach to deployment very soon,” they said.
“We will continue to do all that we can to make sure people in Scotland are offered the greatest possible protection from vaccination, as quickly as we can.”
They added: “Urgent modelling work is being done to inform the operational response including assessing the additional capacity that will be needed in terms of workforce and facilities. We are grateful for the assistance military personnel have already provided and we’ll explore all options as we aim to accelerate the vaccination programme as quickly as we possibly can.”
Health secretary Humza Yousaf has warned the biggest challenge to the booster programme will be a shortage of staff.
Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said on Wednesday this January target will be possible, but “difficult to achieve”.
The health board had been exploring options to deliver the booster programme before Christmas, she told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland.
This would have involved an “eye watering” number of extra staff, she said, adding that a January target would ease this pressure.
“Re-deploying staff is a challenge,” she said.
"We know that this is our busiest time of year in ‘peacetime’, during a pandemic it becomes even tougher.
"Being able to mobilise our existing staff in the way that we did at the start of the first vaccination programme will be difficult for us.”
Any changes made to the online booking system will also present logistical challenges, she added.