Humza Yousaf has written to UK health secretary Matt Hancock to ask what more can be done to accelerate the supply of the Pfizer vaccine in the coming weeks.
Scotland’s health secretary outlined the need to bring forward supply of the vaccine ahead of a four nations meeting between health ministers.
Yousaf also indicated that the pace of the vaccination programme in Scotland could be maintained or increased if supplies of Pfizer are increased.
In his letter, he wrote: “In Scotland, similar to our 4 nations counterparts, we are working hard towards the end of July target for offering first does to all those aged 18 and over.
“This has become even more important as we implement the adjustments to dose schedule set out by JCVI and deploying additional accessible routes to reach communities given the increase in prevalence of the Delta variant.
“I am very clear that this is a race and we must therefore do absolutely everything in our power to accelerate our efforts to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“I appreciate we are all doing what we can in this regard, but I am conscious that the recent changes by JCVI on the role of AstraZeneca, have placed increased pressure on our supply of Pfizer in particular.
“The latest forecast on supply would indicate that Pfizer will be particularly tight over the next few weeks and as a consequence the programme won’t be able to accelerate as much as I would wish.”
He added: “I know that the Vaccines Taskforce and colleagues in BEIS are working incredibly hard to maximise volumes of all supply including Pfizer.
“Notwithstanding this, I would be grateful to discuss what more could be done to further increase the available supply in the coming weeks to support efforts to deliver the programme at pace.
“I would of course be happy to discuss this at our next 4 nations Ministerial call if that would be useful.”