Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 13th July 2021.

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The First Minister:

That action is under way. All over-18-year-olds have received an appointment and will be getting access to a first dose of the vaccine in the coming days and by the mid-July target date that we have indicated, which is an acceleration of the original target of the end of July.

We also need to make sure that uptake of the opportunities for vaccination is as high as possible, which is the reason for drop-in clinics, the vaccination buses in Glasgow and Edinburgh and the other efforts that we are exploring to get vaccines to young people as quickly as possible.

As Lorna Slater raised with me in a party leaders’ call yesterday, there are issues with the return to university, because, as Michael Marra rightly says, some 18-year-olds might not have full protection by the time they go.

More significantly, there will be some 17-year-olds who are going to university and, as of now, we are not vaccinating 17-year-olds. We might or might not start to vaccinate them in the future, depending on the JCVI advice. Therefore, we will consider providing guidance to that group in particular to help them feel safe and assured as they start university, even though they might not have the full protection of the vaccine that their older peers have.

Some important issues are involved. We have talked about the work that we are doing to prepare for the start of the school academic term—similarly, we need to properly prepare for the start of the university and college terms. I know that the education secretary will seek to engage more with members on all those issues.