The First Minister has voiced concern about the potential impact severe weather expected over the coming days could have on the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Nicola Sturgeon said forecasts of heavy snow “make my heart sink”, but she added measures are in place to minimise the impact on the rollout of the jab.
The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning of “heavy and persistent” snow for large parts of Scotland, in place from 3pm on Thursday until 6am on Saturday.
Meanwhile a yellow warning of snow covers most of the rest of the country until midday on Saturday.
Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said: “I’m always concerned when there is severe weather forecast but obviously we want people to be able to get to vaccination centres, and forecasts and reports of heavy snow clearly concern me and make my heart sink a little bit.
“But as part of our resilience preparation, and local authority resilience partnerships are in the lead here, there’s lots of work going into making sure there is gritting and snow clearing where necessary so we keep the vaccination programme running as smoothly as possible, even when there is bad weather.
“But of course logic and common sense tells you that severe weather does have an impact on these things, we just have to try and minimise that as much as possible.”
She said anyone concerned about going for their vaccination in severe weather should contact their local health board, who will either be able to give advice on how to get to the appointment or reschedule it.
The amber weather warning covers Central, Tayside and Fife, Grampian, the Highlands and Islands and Argyll and Bute and warns there is a chance of long delays and cancellations on bus and rail travel, power cuts, and that some rural communities might be cut off.
Forecasters say fresh snowfall of 10-15cm is possible at low levels, with 20-30cm accumulating above about 150m.
The yellow warning forecasts periods of snow, heavy at times, for much of inland central and northern Scotland through Thursday, Friday and into Saturday, mainly on high ground.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “The Met Office is warning us that this period of challenging weather is set to continue, and become more difficult for parts of the country at the end of the week and into the weekend.
“It’s important to remember the current Covid restrictions mean you should only be leaving your home for an essential purpose.
“Please consider if your journey is absolutely necessary before setting off, especially if you’re in the amber warning area.
“If you do have to make an essential journey during the warning period, you should make sure that you plan your journey in advance, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice.”
Transport Scotland said the trunk road network will be closely monitored, with dedicated patrols and road surface treatments.
The Multi-Agency Response Team was activated at the start of the week and will remain operational for the duration of the weather warnings.