NICOLA Sturgeon has said a decision on vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds is expected "within days". 

The First Minister said the UK's chief medical officers have been tasked with undertaking a "rapid assessment of the latest evidence". 

It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided not to recommend vaccination for healthy children.

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon said: "On Friday, the JCVI updated its analysis on offering vaccination to all 12 to 15-year-olds.

"The JCVI has concluded that the health benefit of vaccination for 12 to 15-year-olds does marginally outweigh any risks - but because it considers children to be at relatively lower risk of serious health harm from the virus it has decided, at this stage, not to recommend that vaccination is offered all 12 to 15-year-olds.

"However, the JCVI also acknowledged that it would be appropriate for governments, in coming to a policy decision, to consider any wider benefits of vaccination – for example, reducing disruption to education.

"Therefore, the four UK governments have asked our chief medical officers to undertake a rapid assessment of the latest evidence and provide advice on wider benefits.

"We expect this advice soon – I hope within days - and the Scottish Government stands ready to act in accordance with any recommendations we receive."

Ms Sturgeon said the JCVI had also recommended that those with certain health conditions should be offered a third vaccine dose.

This is because two doses may not be sufficient to enable those with compromised immune systems to mount a full immune response to Covid, she said.

The First Minister added: "We are now moving to implement this advice over the next few weeks and we will provide further advice to those affected by it shortly."

Elsewhere, she said the Scottish Government will publish a paper on its vaccine passport plans ahead of a vote in Holyrood tomorrow.

This will set out in "broad terms" how the scheme will operate.

Ms Sturgeon said certification is becoming "an increasingly common response to the exceptional circumstances we are all facing in this stage of the pandemic".

She told MSPs: "Neither we nor any other country has the luxury of doing nothing to keep Covid under control.

"The question - especially after 18 months of restrictions being in place to varying degrees - is how we do so in the most proportionate and least restrictive way possible.

"In the Scottish Government’s view, Covid certification is a reasonable response to a very difficult situation, and much more proportionate than any likely alternatives."

Ms Sturgeon plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor live events for more than 4,000 people and any events with more than 10,000 people.