The first vaccinations against coronavirus (COVID-19) have been given in Scotland to those who will be carrying out the vaccination programme.

Initial supplies of the Pfizer vaccine have been arriving at NHS Boards across Scotland since the weekend and are being stored at the required Ultra Low Temperature ahead of the start of the vaccination programme.

The roll-out has begun with vaccinators being given the vaccine first. After that, the focus will be on vaccinating residents in care homes for older adults and their carers and other frontline healthcare workers.

People over the age of 80 will then receive their injections, as supply allows. As those being vaccinated need two doses at least 21 days apart, 50 per cent of the vaccines will be kept back in to make sure the second injection can be given within the advised timeframe.

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire said: “This is a hugely significant day in the efforts to eliminate Covid-19 which hopefully will mark the beginning of the end of this pandemic.

“NHS Ayrshire and Arran will follow the guidance of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation following today’s first vaccinations.

“While the end is now in sight, we must continue to follow the public health guidelines in place to prevent transmission of the virus in our communities.

“I’d once again like to thank all of our NHS staff for their hard work throughout this horrible situation and to those who have navigated the challenges of making the delivery of this vaccine possible.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This is obviously a very welcome milestone in our collective fight against the pandemic and I am very grateful to all those who have worked so hard to ensure Scotland is ready to deliver these first COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Science has given us hope and we are starting on a journey which will eventually allow us to return to the lives we want to lead.

“We ask everyone to be patient as we work through these groups as quickly as vaccine supply allows and we urge you to go for the vaccine when it’s your turn.

A vaccination programme of this scale is a significant logistical challenge and requires a major nationwide effort. But it is one we undertake with optimism and determination to succeed.”

COVID Vaccine deployment: Health Secretary’s statement Thursday 3rd December