A SCOTTISH Government adviser has urged caution over the latest Pfizer vaccine news, and suggested people may “rethink their Christmas and holiday plans” as an end to the pandemic appears ever closer.

This morning it was announced that a new Covid-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, working with German biotech company BioNTech, has been approved for use in the UK.

READ MORE: UK becomes first country to approve Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine available 'from next week'

Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of public health at Edinburgh University, has said she’s “quite optimistic”, but has warned that life will not change overnight and that Covid precautions are still crucial. 

“This might make people rethink their Christmas plans and their holiday plans, because we’re going to get through this in the next few months”, she told BBC Breakfast.

“In the meantime we need to buy time through distancing measures, through being cautious, through restrictions, to basically allow the vaccine to be delivered in enough doses to enough of the population.

“This is going to take months, the gradual easing of restrictions is what we’re likely to see rather than life going back one day to the next. 

Previously, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he hoped the roll-out of a vaccine would signal that life could go back to “normal” by Easter, on April 4.

Professor Sridhar said that the combination of the vaccine, mass testing and the longer summer days will put us in a much stronger position by next summer.

She said: “I’m quite optimistic as well.Not only because of the vaccine but also mass testing, and we’re also going to be entering the warmer months and we know this virus transmits much less outdoors and we have longer days.

She added: “That’s what people need to look forward to."

READ MORE: Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in Scotland: Who will get it, when and how?

Last month, the announcement that Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine may be ready for distribution before the end of the year raised the issue of misinformation being spread by anti-vaxxers as some expressed reluctancy to be vaccinated. 

However, scientists and experts have stressed the vaccine is safe and has met approval standards.

Prof Sridhar said: “People are a bit nervous because of the speed of the process. Is this a safe vaccine? Do I want to come forward for vaccination?”

Speaking on behalf of herself, her colleagues and scientists in general, she added: “We are all willing to step up and have the vaccine when it’s our turn in the queue.

"And I think as many scientists and political leaders who can show that this vaccine is safe and they’re willing to take it, and show that this is a good way forward for this pandemic, the better it is to convince people that it’s not just been rushed, it’s been done in a proper and approved process.”

“Because we’re in an emergency situation they have moved faster and the approval process is slightly different. But we are likely to see more and more countries and European agencies approving these vaccines, it’s just that the UK has moved first this morning. 

Elsewhere, Health Secretary Matt Hancock offered to get vaccinated live on television to help convince people it is safe.

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan made the suggestion before Mr Hancock said: “Yeah, I’ll take it with you, Piers”.

Morgan said: “I’ll come to where you are anytime next week if we can do this. Let’s do it together, live on air. It would be powerful, it would send the right message.”

Mr Hancock said: “Well, we’d have to get that approved because, of course, there is a prioritisation according to clinical need and, thankfully, as a healthy, middle-aged man, you’re not at the top of the prioritisation.

“But if we can get that approved and if people think that’s reasonable then I’m up for doing that because once the MHRA has approved a vaccine, they only do that if it is safe.

“If that can help anybody else, persuade anybody else that they should take the vaccine then I think it’s worth it.”

And former Health Secretary Andy Burnham also took to social media warn people of “scare stories”. 

The  Greater Manchester Mayor said: “The UK has one of the strongest medicines and vaccines regulatory systems in the world. I can say that with confidence as a former Health Secretary.

“So, please, don’t believe the scare stories. If the @MHRAgovuk says it is safe, it IS safe.”