A TORY councillor has been forced to backtrack after saying he would delay taking the coronavirus vaccine due to side effects just days before it was revealed the jag is safe to roll out.

Andrew Polson, the Conservative co-leader of East Dunbartonshire Council said he wouldn’t consider taking a coronavirus vaccine for at least three or four years as he is "very healthy" and doesn't take the flu vaccine.

He made the comments on November 25, a few days before it was announced that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is to be administered to people in the UK from next week.

"I wouldn’t consider taking it (the vaccine) until I see the side effects over 3 or 4 years (they normally allow 5-10 years to see how they pan out)," Polson posted in a Facebook thread.

His comments, which have not been deleted, were in response to others on the thread discussing the vaccine and the easing of restrictions over Christmas.

He also said: “Given I think I actually had Covid in Feb after a visit to China and also that I don’t like pumping anything I don’t need into my body, do you think someone very healthy like me needs it? And if so, why, given I don’t take or need the flu vaccine.”

Polson, who has been selected to stand for the Tories in the Strathkelvin and Bearsden ward at next year’s Holyrood elections, told The Milngavie and Bearsden Herald that he has now been "thoroughly convinced" of the vaccine's safety.

He said: "The approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is fantastic news and is a real example of Great British success. We should all be united in our thanks to those responsible for this breakthrough which will bring tremendous hope not just for the people of Scotland but indeed the world.

“Before Tuesday’s announcement I like many of my constituents, naturally had questions but I have been thoroughly convinced that there has been a rigorous assessment of the data in the shortest time possible without compromising in any way the thoroughness of the review.

“We have some of the best scientists and medical people in our country, we’ve got the best medical regulator and the use of vaccine in the UK is ongoing for several decades now.

“I am confident that the vaccine approved meets the expected high standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and would not be authorised for supply in the UK unless the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy were met.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives told The National that Polson is "not an anti-vaxxer" and that he has a 15-year-old son who will be one of the first to get the vaccine.

In a statement, he said:  “Any suggestions, from any source, that people shouldn’t get the Covid vaccine are wrong.

“Mr Polson is fully supportive of the need for everyone to get the vaccine and is entirely confident that the vaccine is safe to use. 

“He has never been against the need for a safe vaccine. His son suffers from serious medical complications that mean he has been waiting on a vaccine for some time and hopes to receive it soon. Mr Polson also intends to receive it at as soon as he is eligible.”

The UK Government has secured 800,000 doses of the vaccine. Of that Scotland will get a population share of 65,600. 

However, because the inoculation needs two jags, that initial delivery will only cover just over 32,000 people.

The first group to be vaccinated will be those doing the vaccinating, followed by health and social care workers. That process should start next Tuesday. 

Last month Polson told the First Minister not to put East Dunbartonshire into Level Four restrictions.

READ MORE: Tory councillor urges Scottish Government to keep his area out of Level 4

In a statement, he insisted the locality should be given "more time" in its current restriction level, saying: "I can confirm that I have been in contact with officials in the Scottish Government at the highest level about the possibility of our area
and that of Greater Glasgow going into the highest tier of restrictions.

"I made my feelings perfectly clear and have urged severe caution."

But Level Four rules were imposed in 11 council areas across western and central Scotland, including East Dunbartonshire.