NHS Grampian is to begin offering Covid-19 vaccinations to those aged 18-39 in Moray as the health board combats an “uncontrolled” outbreak of the virus.
Under-40s who have not already received an appointment will be contacted from Saturday, initially by phone and by letter from the middle of next week.
Moray has been struggling with sustained community transmission of coronavirus, with current restrictions failing to contain the spread.
The health board has launched an incident management team (IMT) to try to bring the virus back under control, and is urging people to get tested even if they do not have symptoms.
Door-to-door testing is being “heavily considered” for Elgin, the epicentre of the outbreak.
Moray’s case rate is significantly higher than the rest of the country.
The latest statistics show Moray had 79.3 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days, significantly higher than the rate in the rest of the country.
Nearby Aberdeenshire and Highland had just 10 and 11 cases per 100,000 respectively.
Katrina Morrison, clinical lead nurse for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in NHS Grampian, said: “Additional Covid-19 Pfizer vaccination stock and the concerning, uncontrolled, sustained community transmission of Covid-19 in Moray has made this decision straightforward. It needs to happen quickly and our staff have been mobilised to speed up the process.
“Working together to reduce the spread in Moray will reduce the risk of further spread to Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen. The slightly accelerated delivery in Moray will not delay the programme or negatively impact on the work planned throughout Grampian.
“We urge the residents in Moray to make every effort to attend their allocated appointment time to help us protect them and the community.
“If individuals cannot attend their allocated appointment, they are advised to get in touch using the contact details they will be provided – this is really important as it reduces the risk of any vaccine wastage.”
The health board said the Moray outbreak is concentrated in Elgin but cases are also rising in Lossiemouth, Buckie and Keith.
East Dunbartonshire has the second highest number of cases in Scotland, with 37.7 per 100,000.