Scots could be vaccinated against coronavirus before the end of 2020, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
The First Minister said while there are “no guarantees yet” on when stock of a coronavirus vaccine could be available in Scotland, she hopes people will start receiving jabs before the end of this year or “certainly very early next year”.
Her comments at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday came after drugs manufacturer Pfizer revealed earlier in the week that its Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus.
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie raised concerns that not everyone will be willing to vaccinated.
He said “online conspiracies are gaining an audience in Scotland”, adding “these conspiracies include ideas links to Covid denial, anti-vaccine myths, as well as climate denial”.
Mr Harvie said research suggests as many as a third of people could be “uncertain or unlikely to accept a vaccine when it is available”.
He asked Ms Sturgeon what her Government is doing to combat “dangerous” conspiracy theories, as well as what action it will take to “build public confidence in a future vaccine so we can maximise uptake”.
She told him: “I think all of us should guard against buying into conspiracy theories on the internet or anywhere else, and on Covid that is obviously particularly important.”
The First Minister stressed coronavirus vaccines will go through “all the proper and regulatory processes”.
She said: “It is important we are all very clear that when vaccines are given clearance to be used, then they are safe to use.”
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will “make sure all of the information about the vaccine is made available and we take steps to address any concerns that people”.
She said: “I hope, though there is no guarantees yet, but I hope we may even be a position before the end of this year or certainly very early next year to start vaccinating people against Covid.”
When this happens she said the message will be “very clear if you are in one of the eligible groups come forward for vaccination, you are protecting yourselves but you are also helping to protect others”.
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