Faith leaders in Scotland have joined together to call on people across the country to accept the offer of a coronavirus vaccine.
Rev Dr George Whyte, Principal Clerk of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said it is imperative people keep themselves and others safe.
He has signed a statement with six other faith leaders in a show of support for the vaccination programme being rolled out across the country.
It reads: “We faith leaders in Scotland understand the difficulty that our communities are facing during this pandemic.
“We urge all faith communities to take measures that will ensure their safety and the safety of others.
“Furthermore, we support the Covid-19 vaccination programme across the community and we encourage people to be vaccinated so that they keep themselves and their neighbours safe.”
The statement has also been signed by the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop Hugh Gilbert; the chairman of the Scottish Muslim Forum, Imam Hassan Rabbani; Chief Imam and Director General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society Imam Sayed Razawi and Muslim Council of Scotland convener Dr Muhammad Rafiq Habib.
Also putting their names to the statement are Senior Rabbi of Scotland Rabbi Moshe Rubin and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, Most Reverend Mark Strange.
Kirk buildings will be used as vaccination centres including Morningside Parish Church in Edinburgh and Dunfermline East Church in Fife.
Dr Whyte said: “The Church of Scotland is working with the Scottish Government to ensure that local churches continue to be part of the effort to suppress the coronavirus outbreak by following the advice to stay at home as much as possible.
“We fully accept that the latest pandemic restrictions mean that we have to close churches again for the time being.
“While recognising that communal worship is an essential element of our faith, we also know that the Church remains present and active in our local communities even while buildings are closed.
“We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that reopening churches will happen as soon as it can be done safely.”
Dr Whyte said the vast majority of members understand and support the temporary restrictions.
He added: “In the meantime, we are encouraged by the many church congregations across Scotland who are offering essential support – both spiritual and practical – to their local communities.”