Jeane Freeman said GPs could begin the rollout of the second vaccine from January 11, starting with people over the age of 80, if the jab is approved by the end of the year. Her comments came weeks after the UK kicked off its first Covid vaccination programme, after the UK’s medicines watchdog gave the Pfizer/BioNTech jab the green light.
Since the first vaccine was administerd on December 8 thousands of Britons have been injected.
As of December 20, a total of 56,676 people had received the first of two doses required to be vaccinated.
Those given the vaccine include the elderly, care home residents and staff and patient-facing NHS staff.
In a statement at the Scottish Parliament, the health secretary said that pending supply and delivery, officials expect to complete the second dose of vaccinations for this group next month.
Ms Freeman also said that the Oxford vaccine, developed with AstraZeneca, could be used in a far wider range of settings than the Pfizer jab.
She said: “Right now we have access to just one vaccine, in the near future we hope that it will be two.
“The new AstraZeneca vaccination, should it get Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval, does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is easier to transport.
“That means that we we will be able to deploy it in far wider settings than has been the case for Pfizer.
READ MORE:Will the Covid vaccine work on the new coronavirus variant?
Half of this batch will be retained to ensure that those already vaccinated can be given the second dose after the 21 days required.
This is a breaking news story… More to follow…