Scotland ‘needs to speed up’ vaccination programme

Scottish Government accused of being too slow to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

Scotland ‘needs to speed up’ vaccination programme Getty Images

Scotland needs to speed up its coronavirus vaccination programme, a leading government medical adviser has warned.

Ministers have been accused of being too slow over the vaccination rollout in recent days. On Sunday, just 9628 vaccinations were completed in Scotland, compared to 290,000 across the UK.

Just over 575,000 people in Scotland have had their first dose so far, while the UK tally stands at 9.3m; Scotland has approximately one-twelfth of the UK population.

Opposition parties have criticised the Scottish Government for overseeing a “sluggish” vaccination scheme, and Scottish Secretary Alistair Jack said one million doses had been allocated north of the border.

National clinical director Jason Leitch admitted “we do need to be doing it faster” during a BBC radio interview on Tuesday morning.

But he insisted the programme would ramp up as many of those aged between 70 and 79 would be given jabs at newly opened mass vaccination centres in Aberdeen and Edinburgh, as well as the NHS Louisa Jordan in Glasgow.

Prof Leith put Sunday’s figure down to GP practices not operating and said the vaccination team had been asked to “have a look at that”.

He said: “We decided to do the over-80s in their own practices, where they would know their nurses, where they would know their GPs, where they would be close to home.”

The Scottish Government has said it remains on target to vaccinate all over 80s by the end of this week, and over 70s by the end of next week.

However, the Scottish Conservatives said the speed of the rollout was “letting Scotland down”.

The party’s leader Douglas Ross added: “The SNP’s slow Covid vaccine rollout is lagging miles behind the rest of the UK.”