Older residents set to receive Covid vaccine first
Residents of homes for older people in Scotland will begin to receive the Pfizer vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19) from Monday this week.
After more than 5,000 key NHS workers and vaccinators received the Pfizer vaccine in the first few days of the programme, it is now being extended to include care home staff and residents.
The move has been made possible following confirmation that the Pfizer vaccine can be ‘packed down’ into smaller pack sizes. The vaccine, is received in packs of 195 five dose vials which must be diluted before use, but these can also be transported in an unfrozen state for up to 12 hours, and can be stored undiluted for up to five days.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has given the go ahead for health boards to do this, making it possible to take the vaccine direct to care home residents or to vaccination centres nearby, with minimal wastage.
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman said that care home residents would be prioritised for receipt of the vaccine from current supplies but warned that pace of the vaccine delivery programme remains dependent on the supply of doses.
She said: “This is another important moment in our journey through the coronavirus pandemic and I am delighted that we have received the authorisation we need to enable us to vaccinate the most vulnerable people in our care homes.
“Officials in the government and our health boards, along with Pfizer, and the MHRA, have worked really hard to allow this to happen and it is another step on the road to our collective recovery and a return to a more normal way of life.
“We are providing the vaccine to people in care homes according to the order of priority set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and we will work through that order of priority as quickly as vaccine supply allows.
“We are hopeful that subject to further stringent approvals, other vaccines may meet MHRA approval for supply – for example, AstraZeneca and Moderna – enabling more vaccinations to take place at a faster rate.”
“In the meantime it remains vital that we all stick to the published restrictions and follow public advice to keep suppressing the virus to as low a level as possible.”
Vaccination priorities have been set out by the JCVI, with each of the 4 Nations following this advice. Scotland is represented at the JCVI by a Senior Medical Officer from the office of the Scottish Chief Medical Officer, and by clinicians from Public Health Scotland (HPS).
NHS Boards are responsible for the development and delivery of their local COVID-19 vaccination plans; recruitment; and operations of vaccination clinics within their board area.