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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-00589
Asked by: Siobhian Brown, Ayr, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 10 June 2021

Question

To ask the Scottish Government whether it will consider adapting the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme to offer people with a history of heart disease and stroke and concerns regarding blood clots the option of having the Pfizer vaccine.

Current status: Answered by Humza Yousaf on 29 June 2021


Answer

All of our decision making in the approach to responding to Covid-19 is guided by the latest scientific evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) , advice from Health Protection Scotland and our Chief Medical Officer. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) provides advice on immunisation to all UK Health Departments, including on the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

Decisions to prioritise one population group over another are not taken lightly, nor are they straightforward. That is why our prioritisation decisions have been, and will continue to be, guided by the independent expert advice from the JCVI.

It is also worth noting that this is the case with many other vaccines. People are not routinely offered a choice of the type of vaccines in other vaccine programmes in Scotland. The Scottish Government currently has no plans to introduce an option for receiving either Covid-19 vaccine, beyond a clinical recommendation.

Following the statements by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) we want to stress that the evidence shows that, overall, the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks and it continues to be a safe and effective vaccine.

However, the Scottish Government will follow the JCVI recommendation to offer alternative vaccines to adults under 40 without underlying health conditions.

The JCVI and MHRA continue to monitor this carefully and are in regular contact with other regulators.

JCVI recommendations are set out in the Green Book, available at COVID-19 Greenbook chapter 14a (publishing.service.gov.uk)

GPs may make a recommendation for their patients to receive a specific vaccination if they believe there is a clinical need.

If the JCVI recommend a specific vaccination for any specific group we will of course take up this advice immediately.