Health care workers and care home residents are to start receiving Covid boosters and autumn flu jabs from Monday as the autumn vaccination programme gets under way. 

Thousands of people across Scotland have already been issued appointments, with the first in line receiving the inoculation today. 

It comes ahead of an expected "winter wave of respiratory virus" with the flu possibly making a resurgence after a drop during the lockdown, the country's national clinical director warned. 

Speaking to BBC Scotland Radio, Jason Leitch described Scotland's current Covid infection rates as  "almost entirely good news" after cases were shown to have been at their lowest in eight months. 

Around one in 55 people in private households north of the border were estimated to have the virus in the week to August 23, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

However, Mr Leitch emphasised that a winter resurgence is expected and said: "Today's a really important day.

"This is the autumn booster for Covid and combined in many cases with flu so it is really important that people go for their appointment or make their appointment depending who they are."

The rollout will first see health and social care staff receive the jab, alongside the "house-bound" which includes care home residents. 

Mr Leitch said a portal has been open for some time to allow the essential workers to book an appointment for the jabs.

"The first day 35,000 of them signed up, that should tell you a little bit about how good this vaccine is if the health and social care workers want to queue up to get it," he added. 

This rollout also marks the first time a bivalent vaccine, targeting two variants at once, will be issued to some Scots. 

The 'Spikevax bivalent Original/Omicron’ has previously been described as a ‘sharpened tool in our armoury’ to fight against Covid.

"This is a kind of standard development," the national clinical director said. "As vaccines come on stream, as the disease changes, the vaccine companies work on a better in inverted commas vaccine.

"So this one has little bits in it that make it kind of amenable to Omicron original and Omicron new basically.

"We know the old vaccines, let's call them, still are absolutely fantastic. They are still doing really well, most of the world is using them, they are still reducing serious disease and death by huge percentages.

"So whichever vaccine you're offered, anywhere in the world, is the one you should get."

Speaking on new variants, he added:"The most important thing is what happens next and we are beginning to see new variants pop up with new numbers, but nothing so far.

"The trick is if they give it a new greek letter, that's more worrying. So if they just give it a new number attached to the old greek letter, don't panic.

"If they give it a new greek letter you'll have to have me in to talk about it probably and we don't want to have to learn the greek alphabet using Covid as our excuse of course."

Following the first group, the vaccine programme will then invite over 65s after which the over 50s will be able to book their appointment. 

It is hoped that all groups will receive their vaccine by the end of the year with the rollout taking place in smaller centres.

Asked if there is a plan for a larger rollout for younger age groups if there is a "massive covid outbreak in the winter", Mr Leitch said: "There is always. So the joint committee looks at the disease, the status of the people with immunity, where the immunity is going up or down all of that.

"So everything needs to be kept in reserve, we don't know what will happen with variants, we don't know. The doomsday scenario, of course, and this isn't to scare anybody we don't expect it to happen but what if we get one from somewhere else in the world that escapes our vaccine and that sets us back.

"It probably won't set us back to the beginning but it might set us back a little so you've got to have everything in reserve."