NICOLA Sturgeon has described people who choose not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as "deeply irresponsible" and "selfish".

The First Minister was giving a coronavirus announcement in Holyrood when she made a call for more people to take up vaccinations along with the booster jags.

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus, Sturgeon updated MPs on new government advice relating to the pandemic.

Nine of Scotland's 14 health boards have now reported Omicron infections with the most recent available figure showing that there have been 99 overall cases of the variant reported, an increase of 28 from Monday.

In the announcement on Tuesday afternoon, Sturgeon urged Scots to work from home where possible and encouraged more people to get vaccinated who have not yet.

​READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon confirms ten-fold spike in Omicron cases in Scotland

Sturgeon answered a question relating to the fact that a "hugely disproportionate" number of people being treated in intensive care units for Covid are unvaccinated, from MSP Kenneth Gibson. 

The First Minister said: "What I would say, pretty bluntly to people, if you are eligible and able to be vaccinated right now and you are choosing not to be vaccinated then you are being deeply irresponsible.

"I would say you are being selfish. You're putting your own life much more at risk and you're putting the life of everybody you come into contact with at risk.

"That was true before the emergence of Omicron, it may be even more true now. So please, for your own sake, get vaccinated, but if you're not going to do it for your own sake, do it for of others you're coming into contact with and for goodness sake don't put their lives on the line."

Scotland is currently the most vaccinated part of the UK and has, more quickly than other nations, implemented advice from the JCVI to reduce the gap between second vaccine doses and boosters.

The National: First Minister Nicola Stugeon received her booster jag over the weekend. Photograph: PAFirst Minister Nicola Stugeon received her booster jag over the weekend. Photograph: PA

The First Minister also said in her statement that more than 300 full-time equivalent staff have been brought on to assist the vaccine effort.

To make vaccination easier, some health boards are also using drop-in clinics and mobile vaccination units.

Messages have been sent out to people aged between 40 and 60 encouraging them to book a booster jag. Anyone over 40 can now get a booster if it has been 12 or more weeks since their second dose.

While uptake of the vaccine has been very good, Sturgeon added: "Last week we also sent blue envelopes to all 50-59-year-olds who have not been vaccinated at all and a similar letter has been issued over the course of this week to everyone between 40 and 49 who hasn't yet been vaccinated. 

"Take up of the vaccine has been exceptional but there are still a significant number of people in those age groups who haven't been vaccinated. So to anyone in that position, let me clear about this, it is not too late to get vaccinated. In fact, it is now more important than ever to get your first jag and start to get that essential protection."

The National: A blue envelope is held which contains the vaccine appointment details for a member of the public at the entrance to a Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Blairgowrie Town Hall

Additionally, the First Minister has said she intends to write to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to support developing countries to get vaccine doses.

The decision comes after the People’s Vaccine Alliance – a campaign group whose members in Scotland include Oxfam Scotland, Global Justice Now Scotland and Christian Aid Scotland – urged the First Minister to intervene.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has already urged the PM to waive – at least temporarily – the intellectual property rights to vaccine patents.

READ MORE: Daily Covid update: Scotland records 12 Covid deaths and more than 3000 new cases

She told Parliament: “I certainly call on the Prime Minister to take whatever action he can to ensure that we get vaccines equitably to the population of the world as quickly as possible.

“I also take very seriously the responsibility on the shoulders of my government to make sure we’re doing everything possible.

“Covid is a global crisis – it’s very understandable that we focus on the implications for ourselves in our own countries but it is an unprecedented global crisis.”

She added: “It is fundamentally the case, as Omicron is reminding us, that until every across the world is safe, none of us is truly safe, so we are very keen to explore further routes that support equitable access to vaccines.

“I will write to the Prime Minister on this to encourage him to take whatever action is necessary, but also to offer the full cooperation of the Scottish Government in doing so.”

Jamie Livingstone, the head of Oxfam Scotland, described the First Minister’s statement as a “vital intervention”.

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