Nicola Sturgeon has insisted Scotland’s vaccination programme is a genuine seven-day-a-week operation despite a substantial drop in the number of doses administered on Sunday.
Just 11,364 patients in Scotland received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine on Sunday, according to the government’s figures – less than half of the 23,371 people who got one on Saturday.
A further 155 patients also received their second dose of vaccination, down from the 195 carried out the day before.
It is the lowest number of vaccinations administered since the Scottish Government began publishing daily figures, although last weekend’s data only states that 40,151 were carried out across both Saturday and Sunday combined.
Asked about the significant drop, the First Minister suggested it could be due to a “lag” in reporting the number of vaccines carried out and that the Scottish Government may trial round-the-clock appointments for the general population.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Sturgeon said: “We have a seven-day programme that will continue to develop as more and larger-scale sites come on stream.
“We were also having discussions about this on Friday; looking at piloting 24/7 arrangements so that people – particularly when we get into the wider groups of the population – have choices about the time that they turn up for vaccines.”
Sturgeon also acknowledged England had vaccinated a higher proportion of its over-80 population but suggested this was because Scotland was prioritising “more labour-intensive” vaccinations in care homes.
Approximately 95% of over-80s in Scottish care homes had received a vaccination while an estimated 90% of all residents have had at least one dose, she said.
Sturgeon also said the rollout of the vaccine to other over-80s who are being prioritised was “picking up pace”, with approximately 46% getting a vaccine – up from 34% on Friday.
“That will grow on a daily basis as we work towards the target, which we are – I would say – well on track to meet for the over-80s population,” she said.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “We’ve warned the SNP’s vaccine rollout has been sluggish for some time but the latest evidence shows it’s a shambles over the weekend.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s claims of a data lag are clutching at straws when this has happened two weeks in a row and the figures are not picking up enough midweek to get back on track.
“They are failing to deliver the seven-day service that was promised, and GPs are still not getting supplies quickly enough from the SNP.”