NICOLA Sturgeon has told anti-vaxxers who deliberately spread misinformation that they are "not helping" amid a drive to boost jab uptake.

The First Minister made the scathing comments during a Covid-19 briefing at St Andrews House in Edinburgh.

Anti-vaxxer is a term used to describe people who disagree with vaccines for a variety of reasons, such as an infringement of their human rights, and some actively spread false information about vaccine safety and effectiveness.

It comes as recent figures from July 24 revealed that of the 40-49 age group, just 75.8% have had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 9.3% failing to have a single dose.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon urges pregnant women to get Covid vaccine

Sturgeon said that a variety of reasons could have got in the way of people missing their second vaccine appointment, but she didn’t hold back in a scathing assessment of anti-vaxxers who actively work to spread disinformation.

The First Minister was asked if those who haven’t been vaccinated are guilty of anti-social behaviour.

Sturgeon said that there were three "sub-groups" she would identify - active anti-vaxxers, those with genuine concerns over the vaccine, and those too busy who just haven’t managed to get an appointment.

She said: “If you’re an anti-vaxxer who’s going around deliberately spreading misinformation about this vaccine then yes I would accuse you of anti-social behaviour because you’re putting people at risk by doing that, and I would ask you to think very carefully about that.

The National:

The Scottish Government are encouraging the 40-49 age group to get a second dose

“If you’re doing it deliberately, definitely, or if you're blithely retweeting or sharing on social media information about the vaccine that has not got any basis in evidence or fact then you are not helping at all.

“In fact you are doing the opposite of helping.”

Sturgeon then went on to talk about those with worries about being vaccinated who may have been exposed to anti-vax content on social media.

She said: “We would say to you please just take a bit of time to find out the facts about the vaccine.

“You can do that in a number of ways, you can as I keep saying, go on to the NHS inform website, there are lots of sources of credible information online.

READ MORE: Scotland's Covid-19 case rate is 'dramatically falling', says Jason Leitch

“Or again, as I’ve said a few times previously, turn up for a drop-in vaccination, even if you haven’t finally decided you’re finally going to get the jab in your arm, go and talk to someone, there are trained professionals there who can answer your questions and hopefully put your mind at rest and get the vaccine.

“I will not criticise people who have genuine concerns, but I will not stop trying to encourage you to educate yourself about the vaccine and come forward and get vaccinated.”

For those who are struggling to get an appointment for any reason, Sturgeon said that it was down to the government to make the scheme as “accessible as possible”.