Nicola Sturgeon says she will “never be able to express enough gratitude” for those who developed the coronavirus vaccine and all Scots who have had their jags, as a new study reports that tens of thousands of lives have been saved as a result.
Authors of a World Health Organisation led paper, published on Thursday in Eurosurveillance, estimated that 27,656 people, who were aged 60 or older, have been saved in Scotland because of the rollout of the coronavirus jag from December 2020 to November this year.
Responding to the news the First Minster said: “I will never be able to express enough gratitude to those who developed and delivered vaccines – and to everyone who has had the jags”.
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Dr Jim McMenamin, the head of health protection infection services at Public Health Scotland, said: “This important study shows that thanks to high vaccine uptake among the people of Scotland, an early implementation, the Covid-19 vaccination programme is estimated to have saved more than 27,000 lives in Scotland.”
So far, 4,342,107 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination in Scotland, 3,942,927 have had a second, and 1,535,623 have been given a third dose or booster.
Report writers looked at weekly numbers of observed deaths and vaccination coverage, and they estimated that a total of 469,186 deaths – 51% of those expected – had been averted as a result of vaccination in 33 countries.
In Scotland, an estimated 86% of deaths have been avoided.
Dr Nicholas Phin, director of public health science at Public Health Scotland, said: “We know that the Covid-19 vaccine remains the most effective way to protect ourselves. This latest study shows just what an impact the Covid-19 vaccination programme has had in Scotland.”
“When it’s your time to receive a third or booster dose of the vaccine, please do take the opportunity to bolster your protection against Covid-19 at the earliest opportunity.”
Scotland’s Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Throughout the programme, our vaccination teams have, and continue to, work tirelessly and at extraordinary pace to ensure everybody has the opportunity to be protected against coronavirus.
“It is this speed, professionalism and dedication that is reflected in this report which shows over 27,000 deaths have been averted as a result of the rapid uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations in Scotland – an impact second only in Europe to Iceland.
“Scotland’s vaccination programme is an overwhelming success, and as always I want to thank everyone involved and all those who have taken up the offer of vaccine.”