I am pleased to present the second update to Scotland’s COVID-19 Deployment Plan, which provides an outline of the progress in delivering the largest vaccination programme in history.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect daily life in Scotland, and we are continuing to deal with a surge in new cases, currently driven by the dominance of the Delta variant of the virus. Vaccination remains the prime reason that the gap in infection and hospitalisation rates is growing. As we move towards reassessing lockdown restrictions across Scotland we must remember that the fight against COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time ahead.
We released our first COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan in January 2021 and published a subsequent update in March.
I am publishing this updated plan to provide an overview of our progress since March, outline next steps in the programme including our approach to vaccinating 12-17 year olds, and the potential COVID-19 booster programme in autumn.
We have purposefully adopted a human rights based approach and are committed to delivering a quality, inclusive vaccination programme that is:
What we have done
We have worked with all relevant stakeholders to deliver an efficient programme that has responded to emerging clinical advice provided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) including how best to respond to more transmissible variants. All the while keeping pace with available supply to ensure maximum protection has been provided to the most clinically vulnerable.
We are extremely grateful to everyone involved in delivering the programme including NHS, local government and volunteers who continue to play an important role in the programme. I also want to thank the numerous groups that have stepped up to support us including faith, third sector and community groups who have all supported our efforts to deliver an inclusive national programme.
We reached a significant milestone in our COVID-19 vaccination programme on 18 July 2021 when all eligible adults in Scotland had been invited to receive a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. We continue to vaccinate as many people as we can. By 23 July, 89% of all eligible adults had received their first dose.
Where we are now
The Vaccination Programme continues to be responsive to peoples’ needs and I was pleased to be able to see staff in the vaccination bus delivering to hard-to-reach communities. We are also working closely with health boards to plan for the potential COVID-19 booster vaccination programme, guided by the JCVI’s interim advice. We look forward to receiving the Committee’s final advice in due course which will inform the approach in the autumn.
We have confirmed that further funding for COVID-19 matters is being made available to health boards from the beginning of July. A further £380 million is being allocated to help with the additional costs this year. This includes additional support for the vaccination programme and is over and above the £1.7 billion allocated last year to Health Boards and Health and Social Care Partnerships. We will make further funding available, as necessary, over the course of the year.
Thank you to everyone across the country who has taken up their offer of a vaccine, and thank you to all those involved in helping to make our vaccination programme a success so far. I urge everyone who is offered a vaccination to take up the offer as this remains the best way for us to get back to normal.
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care