MORE than one million people in Scotland have had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The landmark was reached today, meaning the vaccine programme has now reached more than a fifth (22%) of the eligible population.

Ministers said the rollout is now "moving at pace" through the 70 to 79 age group following the opening of mass vaccination centres. 

The programme remains on track to complete first doses for all those in this age group by the end of this week, they said. 

Those aged 65 and over are also receiving invitations for their appointment. 

John Loch, 69, from Bearsden, was among those vaccinated on the day the milestone was reached. 

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The retired businessman received his first dose at NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow.

He said: “I am delighted to have received my vaccine, particularly on the day Scotland reached a million doses. It is exciting to be a part of this milestone moment.

“I would like to thank all the staff at the Louisa Jordan for being so reassuring and making the process so simple and straightforward.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This is an important milestone in the biggest vaccination programme ever delivered in Scotland and I would like to thank everyone involved and all those who have taken up their offer of a vaccine.

“We have now given first doses to more than a million people in the groups which were prioritised to address 99 per cent of preventable deaths associated with Covid-19. 

"These include elderly care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care workers and those who are at risk of serious harm and death from this virus.

HeraldScotland:

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“Scotland’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is delivering ahead of our expectations. 

"Our aim is to vaccinate as many people as possible with both their first and second doses as quickly as possible but the speed at which we can do this depends on supply and we expect a dip in supplies UK wide towards the end of this month.

“We hope to see a significant drop in the disease due to the vaccination programme, however this will take a number of months to evaluate fully. 

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"In the shorter term, we are monitoring the uptake rate but we also have a comprehensive surveillance system in place to monitor outcome of vaccine efficacy and disease reduction.

“Each health board is working hard to get the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as possible, and everyone eligible will be offered the vaccine as we work our way through the priority groups.

“We continue to urge everyone to take up their appointment when they are offered one. 

"The vaccination programme is one of three key ways we are working to beat this virus, along with our expanded testing programme to identify cases and break chains of transmission and the important lockdown restrictions everyone in Scotland must follow. 

"All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together.”