THOUSANDS of adults in Inverclyde remain unprotected against coronavirus, new figures show.

As vaccines begin to be rolled out to children aged 12 to 15, statistics show that many adults have not had any protection through a jab.

Official UK Government data shows 60,134 people in the district aged 16 and over had received their first shot by September 5.

That means 4,513 people in the age group were still completely unvaccinated as of that date, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This compares to the estimated 3,352 children aged 12-15 in the area who are now being offered a Covid-19 injection.

As the focus shifts to vaccinating teenagers, The British Society for Immunology is urging the UK and Scottish governments to not forget about adults who have not been jabbed.

Dr Doug Brown, the group’s chief executive, said governments must redouble their efforts to reach adults who still haven’t attended an appointment.

He said: “We know more than one in 10 eligible adults have yet to come forward for their first vaccine dose.

“This means they are at significantly higher risk of catching Covid and experiencing severe symptoms that could result in hospitalisation, as well as potentially suffering long Covid.

“I would encourage anyone who has yet to receive their first vaccine or hasn’t yet completed their vaccine course to come forward to get the jab to protect themselves against falling sick with this horrible disease."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed last week that one dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to children aged 12 to 15 who are not already covered by existing advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Drop-in clinics began welcoming those in that age group on Monday while letters inviting children for appointments are due to go out next week.

The JCVI had said the evidence was not strong enough to recommend the jab for 12 to 15-year-olds on health grounds alone, but the UK’s Chief Medical Officers said vaccination would help to reduce disruption to education.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are aware of some vaccine hesitancy in some communities and are addressing this by working alongside third sector and community groups.

“All NHS boards have dedicated inclusion plans within the vaccination programme, outlining how they will actively offer vaccination to people who may face barriers in taking up the vaccine.

“Some examples of outreach include offering vaccinations in places of worship, in other community settings, providing concessionary bus travel to appointments and working with community leaders to promote uptake.

“There is no doubt vaccination represents our best way out of the pandemic.

"We thank everyone who has already been vaccinated and continue to urge anyone who has not yet come forward to do so.”