ONE of Scotland’s top medics has said the latest data on the Oxford coronavirus vaccine is “very encouraging” as he hinted at it being rolled out “imminently”.

AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced that their jab is effective in preventing many people getting ill and has been shown to work in different age groups, including the elderly.

One of the dosing patterns used by the scientists suggested 90% effectiveness if one half dose is given followed by a further full dose. Another dosing pattern showed 62% efficacy when one full dose is given followed by another full dose.

The combined analysis from both dosing regimes resulted in an average efficacy of 70.4%.

Scottish interim chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith said the news was “very positive” given that there was a high efficacy using two different dose regimes, as well as a good safety rate.

He stated: “We can't help but be encouraged by that, particularly when the availability of this vaccine is likely to be fairly imminent as well, so these are things which we should take the opportunity to kind of celebrate when we get the news.”

READ MORE: Covid vaccine: Oxford-AstraZeneca jab up to 90% effective, data reveals

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Smith explained the Oxford vaccine has “particular advantages” over other potential jabs. It can be stored at standard refrigeration temperature, which means it can be distributed around the world more easily than the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which need to be stored at much colder temperatures.

The Oxford vaccine, at a price of around £3, also costs far less than Pfizer's (around £15) or Moderna's (£25) vaccines. And the Oxford technology is more established, so the vaccine is easier to mass produce cheaply. AstraZeneca has also made a "no-profit pledge".

Smith explained: “Of course this vaccine that we've heard some more about today has got some particular advantages as well in terms of its storage and the way that it can be used. It doesn't need some of the detailed logistics and storage that some of the other vaccines required, which means it has a little bit more utility than other the vaccines.”

He added that he was also “very encouraged” by the “global availability” of the Oxford jab.

“I think that we have to bear in mind that while we want to make sure that we first and foremost protect the interests of our own population in the UK and in Scotland in relation to how we access that vaccine, it's very likely that vaccines like this one are likely to be readily available to other countries across the world as well, who perhaps would find themselves more disadvantaged and getting access to those vaccines.”