SCOTLAND will follow the advice of MI5 "to the letter" to keep the coronavirus vaccine secure, the Deputy First Minister has said.

John Swinney said the vaccine is a "very attractive commodity" and could attract "unhealthy interest". 

It comes after it emerged spy chiefs had raised concerns about the location of vaccine storage facilities being made public. 

During the Scottish Government's coronavirus briefing, Mr Swinney was asked whether there was any specific threat around deployment of the vaccine.

He said: "There’s no direct intelligence on this question.

"But there is what I describe as wise advice from the security services, about the significance and the importance of the vaccine.

"The vaccine is a very, very attractive commodity and attractive commodities attract, sometimes, unhealthy interest.

"The security services are giving us that advice, the government welcomes that advice and we will follow it.

"I think members of the public will understand why that’s the case.

"With that will also be the appropriate security arrangements to make sure that we can be able to faithfully assure the public that when the vaccine comes to Scotland, we’ll be able to handle it properly. It’ll be handled securely.

"It will be distributed securely so that we can maximise the supply of the vaccine to members of the public within Scotland and that’s the rationale for the advice, and we’ll be following it to the letter."

SNP Health Secretary Jeane Freeman previously told MSPs that Scotland has purchased 23 commercial freezers. 

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which the UK has approved for use, needs to be stored at a temperature of about -70C.

She said: "They are located across all our health boards and our island authorities. 

"I would wish to advise members where they are, but I have to say - and this is not a reason for not doing that - but national security, which is a part of MI5, is very unsure about the wisdom of making public where our storage is for what is a very precious vaccine indeed."