All young people in Scotland who are aged 16 or 17 will now be offered the Covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice allowing young people to be offered a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

From Friday 6 August 2021, people who are 16 or 17 living in mainland Scotland will be invited to register their interest through the online portal at NHS Inform, and will then be sent an appointment via SMS or email. Eligible young people in Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles will be contacted by their health board and invited to attend clinics.

Alternatively, drop-in clinics will be available for young people aged 16 to 17. The start date for clinics opening for this age group will be confirmed by the government shortly.

Anyone who doesn’t register an interest or attend a drop-in clinic, once open, will be sent an appointment invitation through the post. The government expects that everyone in this age group will have been offered a vaccination appointment by the end of September.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said: “In line with the latest JCVI advice we will now be offering a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination to young people aged between 16 and 17.

“The programme has always carefully assessed all the benefits and potential risks and offered vaccine to groups where this benefit is clear. The research and evidence shows that is the case for this age group and they should now be called forward for an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine.

“We will continue to follow the expert JCVI advice and will await the outcome of analysis of data on second doses for this age group and any additional future advice on vaccination for those in the 12-15 age group.”

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Getting vaccinated has never been easier and from Friday, 16 and 17-year-olds in mainland Scotland will be able to book an appointment through the online portal. We know drop-in clinics are a convenient way for young people to get vaccinated and will announce shortly when these clinics will be open for this age group.

“Vaccination continues to be the best way to protect yourself and those around you and I urge anyone who is eligible to take up the offer of the vaccine.

“The national vaccination programme has been a huge success and without doubt, represents our best way out of the pandemic.”

A member of the public outside the main entrance to the coronavirus mass vaccine centre at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021. PHOTO Jane Barlow/PA Wire