MSPs ‘must be allowed’ to see plans for coronavirus vaccine

Willie Rennie said the information on which groups will be prioritised has not been divulged.

MSPs ‘must be allowed’ to see plans for coronavirus vaccine Getty Images

MSPs must be allowed to see the Scottish Government’s plans for a coronavirus vaccine after “calamitous scenes” around the winter flu jab, Willie Rennie has said.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said the information on which groups will be prioritised has not been divulged.

He pointed to a report from the Royal Society that said there should be “public dialogue and engagement to manage expectations and understanding of vaccine effectiveness, safety, side-effects, availability and access”.

Earlier this week, pharmaceutical company Pfzier revealed its Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said some Scots could receive a vaccine by the end of this year or or “certainly very early next year”.

Rennie said: “News that a vaccine could be just weeks away is fantastic.

“But after the calamitous scenes with the flu jab we need see evidence this Government is prepared for its rollout.

“That’s why Parliament should be shown the plans and options now.”

He added: “There is wide discussion that we could see priority groups begin to be vaccinated in early December. That’s less than a month away.

“The minutes of the vaccine programme board are being kept under wraps and the priority groupings have not been divulged.

“The First Minister made a commitment to maximise parliamentary scrutiny. She needs to make that a reality now.

“I hope the Scottish Government has learned lessons from the major problems in the rollout of the flu vaccine.

“I don’t want a hold-up. I want us to be ready. The options and plans need to be put before parliament now.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Health Secretary has already committed to providing more details to Parliament on the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, and with the agreement of Parliament she aims to do this shortly.

“Safe and effective Covid-19 vaccinations are an exciting prospect and we are planning on the basis of a vaccine becoming available very shortly so we are ready to deploy it when it arrives.

“We are hopeful this will be the case for the Pfizer/BioNTech developed vaccine very soon.”

She added: “In Scotland we already deliver nearly two million doses of other vaccines routinely every year so we have a comprehensive delivery infrastructure in place.

“We are working with the Welsh Government, Northern Irish Government and the UK Government to procure Covid-19 vaccines on a four-nations basis.

“We will prioritise to protect those considered to be most at risk, in line with the forthcoming final advice Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations.

“All NHS boards stand ready to assist with the delivery of the vaccine to the local population as part of the national plan.”

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