First Minister visits Covid-19 vaccine centre as staff prepare for rollout

Nicola Sturgeon has visited a centre where the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine is due to begin on Tuesday.

The First Minister met staff who are co-ordinating the vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

The first to get the jab will be the vaccinators themselves, with priorities set by the UK-wide Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The Western General is one of 23 sites around Scotland which will act as vaccination centres for the priority groups.

Ms Sturgeon (pictured) said: “I’m grateful to everyone involved in giving this vaccine to those who need it most.

“By vaccinating the priority groups they will be covering those associated with 99% of preventable Covid-19 deaths.

“That is a very compelling reason to put these groups first in the queue for this vaccine.”

She added: “Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“But I ask everyone to be patient as we work our way through this vaccination programme and continue to follow FACTS to keep us all safe.”

The Scottish Government said it has received an initial batch of 65,000 doses, with more on the way.

Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Lothian, said: “As we prepare to launch our staff vaccination clinics, we reach a crucial milestone in the fight against Covid-19.

“Across NHS Lothian, a huge amount of planning has and will continue to take place to ensure that we can deliver the vaccine quickly, efficiently and effectively.

“I am delighted that the first Covid vaccinations in NHS Lothian will be given tomorrow and would like to thank all our staff for their dedication in making this happen.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must be stored at minus 70C (minus 94F) before being thawed out, presenting a logistical challenge in delivering it to care homes.

Planning is under way for the vaccine to be delivered to care home residents from December 14.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Russell Cheyne / PA Wire.