Scotland’s First Minister has said she will “not have any hesitation” about getting the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when she goes for her first jab next week.
Nicola Sturgeon added she is “hopeful” the decision to offer younger people an alternative product will not have a “significant impact” on the target of offering all Scots their first jab by the end of July.
She is due to receive her first dose on April 15.
She said: “I don’t know which vaccine I will get offered, but if I am offered the AstraZeneca vaccine I will take the AstraZeneca vaccine and I will not have any hesitation in doing so.
“I will be absolutely happy to take the AstraZeneca vaccine, if that is what is offered to me.”
If you get the AstraZeneca vaccine today or tomorrow, or in my case a week today, it will be one of the least risky things you do in the day, because the risk is probably lower than crossing the roadNicola Sturgeon
She was speaking a day after it was announced that adults aged 18 to 29 are to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, amid fears of a link to rare blood clots.
Ms Sturgeon added: “The risk – if I can call it that – that has been assessed and led to the advice yesterday is very, very, very, very small. The blood clotting issue is very, very, very rare.
“If you get the AstraZeneca vaccine today or tomorrow, or in my case a week today, it will be one of the least risky things you do in the day, because the risk is probably lower than crossing the road, and things like that.”
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has said that while it has not concluded the vaccine causes clots, the link is getting firmer – though it insisted the benefits of the jab still outweigh the risks overall.
Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists Association: “Given the risks the older you get of Covid, the benefits of being vaccinated with AstraZeneca or any vaccine vastly outweigh any minimal risk that might arise from.
“So I have no hesitation in being vaccinated with it, if that is what is offered to me.”
Speaking about the change in the vaccination programme, she added: “We are hopeful it won’t have a significant impact on the end of July target date, but our modellers are just working through the supply projections and the implications of not giving AstraZeneca to the under-30s, and exactly what that means in terms of the timetable.
“But we are hopeful it will not have any material impact, and any delay as a result of yesterday’s decision will be very short, but we will set out a more definitive estimate once that modelling has been completed.
“The good thing is that we have alternatives to AstraZeneca in the shape of Pfizer and now of course Moderna, which is in smaller quantities, so remain broadly on track for that end of July deadline.”