The Scottish Government has “no plans” to make the Covid-19 vaccine compulsory but officials will launch an information campaign to encourage public uptake in the new year.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said “very clear information” will be delivered to every household in Scotland early next year, explaining why the vaccine is safe and the processes it has gone through.
A recent opinion poll by public opinion research firm Kantar showed around a two-thirds of people in Britain would get vaccinated for the virus but young people are far more likely to refuse than older people.
The findings showed 22% of respondents would definitely or probably not get a coronavirus vaccine, rising to 38% of 18-24 year 0lds.
Quizzed on what the Scottish Government would be doing to tackle disinformation online on BBC Politics Scotland, Ms Freeman said the Scottish Government had “no plans” to make the vaccine compulsory.
However, she added that the Scottish Government would be eager to hear what concerns people may have on why they would be reluctant to take the jab.
She said: “In Scotland we have a very good record of high uptake of vaccines and we’ve a strong track record in delivering them safely and effectively.
“We will be making sure that we give the public maximum information about all the processes that this vaccine has gone through which is exactly the same robust and rigorous processes as any vaccine to ensure that it is safe and to ensure that they can confidently be vaccinated because it is an additional means of protection that we don’t currently have.
“We will be putting a lot of public information out and in the early part of the new year and we intend to deliver very clear information to every household in Scotland that explains why the vaccine is safe, what process it has gone through to ensure that is safe and how we’re going to vaccinate people and what to expect when you get the invitation to come along and get your own vaccine.”
In Scotland we have a very good record of high uptake of vaccines and we’ve a strong track record in delivering them safely and effectively.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.
The first “early and limited” delivery of doses to Scotland is expected to take place in the first week of December.
The Scottish Government has confirmed that in the first wave of its plan, from December through to February, frontline health and social care staff, older residents in care homes, care home staff, all those aged 80 and over, unpaid carers and personal assistants will be vaccinated.
Ms Freeman told MSPs in a statement to the Scottish Parliament last week that every person over the age of 18 in Scotland will eventually be able to receive the jab, and that an initial workforce of more than 2,000 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists will be ready before February.