Nicola Sturgeon has said she would be prepared to get the Covid vaccine on live television if she thought it would persuade others to get the jab.
The first minister also said recruiting people like Scots tennis star Sir Andy Murray to front the Scottish Government’s vaccine public awareness campaign was being considered.
At her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said imposing sanctions against those who refused to be immunised was not part of her plans “at this stage” when she was asked about the impact “anti-vaxxers” might have on the programme.
Ms Sturgeon she wanted to persuade people of the importance of receiving the vaccine, arguing that there were ethical issues with making it compulsory.
If me sitting getting it done on live television can help with that, I will do that happily.”
Nicola Sturgeon on persuading people to get the coronavirus vaccine
Ms Sturgeon, who is 50, said she will not be in the first groups to get the vaccine because she is “too young”.
But she added: “As soon as I can get this vaccine, I will be getting this vaccine.”
Asked if she would do likewise and get her injections on the TV, Ms Sturgeon said she would do it, if she “thought it would help persuade” anyone to do likewise, but added that she wasn’t sure that it would.
Joining the First Minister today is Scotland’s Interim Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith. https://t.co/lc62atvObh
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) December 2, 2020
Later she added: “If me sitting getting it done on live television can help with that, I will do that happily.”
But she added that she was not convinced the politicians were the best people to convince the public in such a manner, saying that perhaps more effective strategy would be to involve clinicians like the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Gregor Smith.
Ms Sturgeon said: “My parents and other relatives are likely to be in a higher-priority group that I am, and I will be strongly encouraging them to get this.
“I would encourage without hesitation everybody who’s eligible to get this vaccine as soon as they can.”
Dr Smith added: “I have no hesitation, at all, in saying to you today that when I become eligible for receiving my vaccine dose, I’ll be there with my sleeves rolled up to make sure that I get it.
“I’m confident in the safety profile, I’m confident in the efficacy of this vaccine as well, and when it’s eventually my turn I look forward to receiving it.”
Scottish Covid vaccine ambassadors
The SNP leader was also asked if there were plans to appoint Scottish Covid vaccine ambassadors following suggestions that the royal family, Sir David Attenborough or Marcus Rashford could fulfil such a role.
Ms Sturgeon mentioned Sir Andy’s name, although the former Wimbledon champion has not yet been approached to take part.
“We have not had conversations – to the best of my knowledge – with Andy Murray. But I am sure people like that – people that the vast majority in Scotland have a huge respect for could be helpful in this,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“We won’t leave any stone unturned in terms of trying to get the maximum number of people coming forward and taking this vaccine.”