TEENAGERS aged 12 to 15 will be able to attend drop-in centres for Covid vaccination from Monday, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed. 

The jags will initially be available on a drop-in basis before appointments for clinics are sent out from the week beginning September 27 to all children aged 12 to 15. 

Thereafter, there will be a Covid immunisation programme in schools to increase uptake. 

The First Minister also confirmed that frontline health and social care workers will be able to book booster jags online from Monday, with the rollout of booster Covid jags also set to get underway next week in care homes for the elderly - with residents offered flu vaccinations at the same time.  

READ MORE: Routine Covid vaccinations recommended for teenagers 'to protect education'

It follows recommendations by the UK's chief medical officers that all 12 to 15 year olds should be offered a single vaccine to limit educational disruption caused by the virus, and advice today from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that a full dose of the Pfizer vaccine, or a half dose of Moderna, be used as boosters to maximise protection over winter for adults at higher risk. 

Boosters will be offered to all adults over 50, adults in residential care homes, adults aged 16 to 49 who have underlying health conditions which increase their risk of severe Covid, and adults who are household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. 

They will be given no earlier than six months after people received a second vaccine dose, and administered at the same time as seasonal flu jags.

The JCVI issued its advice based on evidence of what it describes as a "small decrease" in protection against hospitalisation among those aged 65 and over - from just over 90% to just under 90% - 20 weeks after a second dose. 

They said the "most marked decrease" was apparent in the oldest age groups and in people with underlying health conditions. 

On vaccinations for 12 to 15s, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that material will be published online later this week to "help young people and their parents make informed choices". 

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, she added: "I can confirm that from Monday 20 September, so Monday coming, drop in clinics will be open for any 12 - 15 year old who has read the information and - in discussion with parents and carers - decided they wish to be vaccinated.

"It will of course be appropriate for parents or carers to accompany their children to clinics, and vaccinators will be on hand to answer any further questions or address any concerns.

"And then, starting in the following week - so week beginning 27 September - letters will be sent to all 12 to 15 year olds inviting them to an appointment at a drop-in centre or vaccination clinic."

This will be followed by a "programme of vaccination in schools, to ensure that anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated, and who decides that they want to be, gets a further opportunity", said Ms Sturgeon. 

READ MORE: No 'credible evidence' that vaccine immunity is waning against severe Covid, say WHO experts

On boosters, the First Minister confirmed that frontline health and social care workers will be able to book an appointment online via NHS Inform from Monday September 20. 

She added: "Also from next week, residents in care homes for older people will be offered both flu and Covid booster vaccines.

"Adults aged 70 years or over, and everyone aged over 16 on the highest risk list will be contacted shortly either by letter or by their GP. 

"Other eligible groups - all adults over 50, all those aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions, adult carers, unpaid and young carers, and adult household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed - will be able to book online from October."

Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross called for mobile vaccination units to be based at every school and mass vaccination centres re-established for booster jags. 

He said: “The new measures, booster jags and Covid vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds, have the potential to be game-changing in halting the spread of Covid this winter.

“But we need more answers on the delivery of these schemes.

“There should be mobile vaccination units at every school to encourage uptake, particularly those in areas where vaccination rates are low.

“We have seen almost every year, like clockwork, the SNP’s flu jag programme descends into chaos. They cannot let the country down by allowing Covid booster jags to go the same way.

“Mass vaccination centres for Covid booster jags should also be on the table, considering how effective those venues were for first and second jags."

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar pressed the Scottish Government to commit to completing vaccinations for 12-15 year olds before the October school break.

He said: "The Scottish Government must ensure that all 12-15 year olds who want a vaccine are vaccinated by the beginning of the October school holidays.

“For too long, the Scottish Government has simply failed to have its eye on the ball when it comes to the pandemic.

“We need the Scottish Government to act now to ensure that teachers and other school staff are included in the booster programme and to get Test and Protect back on track.”

Earlier today, Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for the JCVI, explained that even a seemingly small decline in the protection of vaccines against severe disease could put the NHS under pressure during winter. 

He stressed that if this protection were to fall by 10 per cent, from 90% to 80%, it would actually double the proportion of people at risk of hospitalisation from 10% to 20%. 

He added: "This can have a big impact [on the NHS] because we're talking about an entire population."

Professor Jonathan Van Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, said the vaccination programme had prevented an estimated 112,000 deaths to date across the UK, and added that the booster programme would help the NHS over winter by further reducing Covid deaths. 

He said the JCVI decision was based on projections for what was likely to happen to immunity against severe disease for higher risk groups by December and January. 

Prof Van Tam added: "If you follow immunological principles, protection will have waned further by those points - that's an unknown, but it's an important consideration."