Health Secretary Makes Statement about COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Health Secretary Makes Statement about COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Statement to the Scottish Parliament by Health Secretary Jeane Freeman on Wednesday 13 January 2021

The most recent 7 day rate of COVID-19 cases is 262 per 100,000 with a test positivity rate of 10.1%.

Public Health Scotland figures to be released at noon are expected to show the new variant of concern is increasing in its dominance.

Members will recall that has an increased rate of infection of between 0.4 and 0.7%.

So we face a more perilous situation than at any point in this pandemic.

And while our NHS is very hard pressed and yet again we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our NHS and social care staff, we have more at our hand to fight this.  In addition to high level of compliance with restrictions and a significantly expanding testing programme with increased capacity and new technologies, we have the national vaccine programme and it is that programme I want to update Parliament on today.

Between 8th December when we began the national vaccination programme until the 12 January, we have given first dose vaccination to:

  • Just over 80% of care home residents and 55% of care home staff
  • Just under 52% of frontline NHS and social care staff and in the 8 days since the 4th of January, just over 2% of those aged 80 or over living in the community – a programme that is scaling up rapidly from this week.
  • By the first week in February we will complete 100% first dose vaccination for all those groups.

Overall a total of 191,965 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and 2,990 have received their second dose – based on the latest management information as at 8:30am this morning.

We currently have supplies coming through for the 2 authorised vaccines – Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca.  Our planning scales up delivery so we are able from February to vaccinate with an average of around 400,000 people a week by the end of that month. The Moderna vaccine is now the third vaccine to be approved and as with the others, we will receive our population share of the supply secured on behalf of the 4 nations by the UK Vaccines Taskforce. We currently expect the Moderna vaccine to be available to us from early April and as before, we will use it in line with JCVI advice.

As Members know, the JCVI priority list from those aged 50 upwards, reflects the fact that age is the greatest risk factor for serious illness and death from COVID and represents well over 90 per cent of the preventable mortality from COVID-19 in Scotland.  To save lives, particularly in the face of such an infectious new strain the priority is to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.  And it was with that in mind and on reviewing the clinical trial data, that the advice was given to prioritise first doses providing very high protection with evidence of minimum 70% vaccine effectiveness from 14 to 21 days after vaccination, and deliver the second dose 12 weeks after the first.  So our planning has been realigned to do just that.

The second dose remains important to lengthen the time immunity is present and everyone will still receive their second dose within 12 weeks of their first and the second dose will be of the same vaccine as the first.

As of today we have a total Scottish allocation of vaccine of 562,125 doses.  Of this – 365,000 have arrived in Scottish vaccination centres, with Boards or GPs .  A further 155,025 doses of Pfizer and 42,100 doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca are either in transit or in storage at Movianto for Scotland to access.

This afternoon I will publish our deployment plan setting out more detail.  The plan will be updated as we go through the weeks ahead, and I will continue to update members.  But based on the supply confirmed to date and the plans underway for workforce and vaccine locations I want to set out some of that detail now.

By the first week in February, all JCVI Priority group 1 and 2 – that’s residents in care homes for older adults, care home staff, frontline health and social care staff and those aged 80 and over living in the community will have received their first vaccine dose.

With the level of vaccine stock we know we have now and projected deliveries over the next few weeks beginning in February, we will then vaccinate people aged 70 and over by mid-February and those aged over 65 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable by the beginning of March. In all this covers JCVI priority groups 1 to 5, a total of just over 1.4 million eligible individuals vaccinated with the first dose.  The second dose vaccination will run in parallel, starting from the end of February and our current modelling on required supply, indicates that we will be delivering around 400,000 vaccinations a week from the end of February.

Over the course of this period we will use a range of different settings to deliver the vaccine.  From care homes for residents and staff, to GP practices, health centres and local clinics primarily for those aged 80 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable, to occupational health and vaccination centres for NHS and social care staff.  And of course for those who find it difficult to get to a local centre, we will take the vaccination to them in their home.

As we go through February and into March more local vaccination sites will come on board – community pharmacies, mobile vaccination clinics, small scale mass vaccination centres and large vaccination centres capable of delivering in excess of 20,000 vaccinations a week in a single location.  Some of these large sites have already been secured – P&J Live in Aberdeen, Ravenscraig Sports Facility in Motherwell, Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.  Right now the NHS Louisa Jordan is, amongst other work, also acting as a vaccination centre but rapid work is underway to secure more sites across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area and in the weeks ahead I will provide members and the public with updates to the location map in today’s deployment plan.  As larger numbers become eligible and for whom local travel is easier, the centres are planning initially an 8am to 8pm opening but we can extend these hours if that proves more more convenient for people.

We currently have a team of around 33 military personnel supporting our programme and I am pleased that we have now finalised plans to increase this support to our larger centres to provide fast and assured site preparation and ensure the facilities are in place for our mass vaccination centres.

Of course critical to all this is the workforce – both vaccinators and support staff.  The plan to vaccinate 400,000 a week requires a daily workforce capacity of approximately 1700 whole time equivalent vaccinators and 950 whole time equivalent support staff.  To achieve that level of vaccinators, we believe we could need up to 3,400  in headcount vaccinators depending on the proportion of part-time versus full-time staff.

We currently have just under 5,500 individual vaccinators registered, not including all participating GPs.  In addition to local health board training, over 4000 have taken part in national training to administer the Pfizer vaccine and 4,700 have received training on Oxford/AstraZeneca.  We are continuing to build additional capacity bringing on board more community healthcare practitioners including pharmacists, dentists and optometrists and are receiving daily offers which we can now route through our national facility to place them close to where they live and secure the additional training they need.

We are also working with the voluntary and community sector to set up a centralised volunteer coordination hub for deployment at mass vaccination centres.  Linked in with existing volunteer frameworks and local resilience partnerships, the hub will be designed to make good use of the locally offered support.

A number of local and national organisations and businesses have offered to be involved and our national contact facility will also receive those offers from now on and ensure each is considered carefully and used where possible.   I am very grateful to the many individuals, business and organisations who have stepped forward so far in this way.

Perhaps the most important thing people want to know is when will it be my turn to be vaccinated and how will I be informed?

I have given an indication, supplies allowing,  of when that will happen in what I’ve set out so far – and this is included in the deployment plan we’ll publish this afternoon.  If you’re in the first 2 priority groups, your employer or health board or your local GP will contact you.  If you’re in one of the other groups, you will be contacted by letter or phone.  If you can’t make the date or time you’re given, you’ll be able to rearrange that again by phone or online.

We’ve already delivered information to every household in Scotland and from 21st of January a national marketing campaign will kick off.  In addition we’ll put out local information through the local press and radio and of course continue to use national print and broadcast media to inform a wider public.

Members – and the wider public – can monitor our progress daily and weekly.  Daily updates, every weekday, are published by the Scottish Government on the Scottish Government website, providing the latest cumulative data on the number of people receiving their vaccination, and from today, weekly updates are published by Public Health Scotland, providing more a detailed breakdown by priority groups vaccinated and geography.

I will continue to keep members informed as we have done up to now through regular letters, detailed information and responding as quickly as I can to specific questions.

I was grateful for Members participation in the briefing we held on January 4th and am happy to repeat that if that would be helpful.

Presiding Officer, before I end I want to take this opportunity to recognise the very many NHS staff, Scottish Government officials, armed forces personnel, local authority colleagues and third sector partners who have worked so hard to get us to this stage and continue to do so and of course to the many involved at every stage from vaccine production, to procurement, to delivery and all those coming forward to volunteer their help.  This programme to vaccinate 4.45 million adults in Scotland is a national effort, each one of them is playing a vital part in that and they have my very grateful thanks.

The vaccine offers us hope and as we vaccinate more and more of our fellow citizens that hope becomes more real.  But on its own it won’t be enough to win the race against this virus.  Each one of us needs to do all we can – following the guidance, abiding closely to the restrictions, washing our hands, wearing face coverings, maintaining 2m distance from each other – everything we can to slow down the spread of the virus and suppress its prevalence as low as we can, so that increasing vaccination can do the job we need it to do.  Doing all of that will protect us, protect the NHS and save lives.