Covid: Scotland's autumn boosters to roll out from 5 September

Margaret Keenan, the first person in the UK to receive a Covid vaccine, was given a booster this spring

Scotland's autumn booster programme against Covid-19 will begin on 5 September, the national clinical director has confirmed.

The vaccination of the country's at-risk groups is expected to continue into December.

Some people will be offered Moderna's new dual vaccine which tackles the original virus and the Omicron variant

However, Prof Jason Leitch told BBC Scotland the important lesson was to get whichever vaccine was offered.

The autumn booster programme was announced following advice from the UK's vaccine advisory body to offer jabs to over-65s, health and care staff and clinically vulnerable adults aged 16-64.
Anyone who is considered high risk over the age of five will then receive it, followed by everyone over the age of 50.

Prof Leitch forecast that over 65s would start to receive the jab by by mid September, but advised people not to panic if they did not receive an appointment straight away.

This week, it emerged the UK had become the first country to approve a bivalent vaccine, made by Moderna.

It will make up the UK's autumn boosters and Prof Leitch said Scotland would receive a proportionate number.

'Well protected'
Moderna thinks 13 million doses of its new vaccine will be available this year, but 26 million people are eligible for some form of booster.

Prof Leitch said: "If you get the normal Moderna or Pfizer, you'll be well protected. Pfizer also working on a bivalent vaccine. But the differences are fairly marginal at this stage.

"If you get the bivalent one it gives you a slightly increased immune response.

"Not everybody will get this new vaccine because Moderna can't make enough of it quickly enough.

"The most important lesson here is get the vaccine you're offered. Getting the vaccine fast is a much better protection than getting a specific vaccine."

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises governments in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, has confirmed the following groups should be offered some form of booster in the autumn:

  • health and social care staff
  • everyone aged 50 and over
  • carers who are over the age of 16
  • people over five whose health puts them at greater risk, including pregnant women
  • people over five who share a house with someone with a weakened immune system
    A spring booster was offered to a narrower group of people considered the most vulnerable to severe disease and death should they catch Covid.

Cases of coronavirus are currently falling in the UK. In mid-to-late July, about 2.5 million people tested positive for coronavirus.