First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has again defended the Scottish Government’s speed of the vaccine roll-out, following another “fall” in the Sunday rate.
At her press briefing on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said the country is still on track to hit its target of all over 70s and high risk groups vaccinated by mid-February.
Yesterday’s vaccine figure of 9,627 was the lowest since the programme started. The rate of Scotland’s vaccine roll-out is the slowest of the four nations of the UK.
Since the vaccine was introduced, more than 576,000 first doses have been administered, including 98% of care home residents and 88% of care home staff.
Ms Sturgeon will update the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday on the latest lockdown restrictions, as well as providing an update on school closures, she said.
She added lockdown is “working” but the number of infected people in Scotland is still “too high”.
Source of ‘lag’ to be identified
Having initially suggested a “data lag” as the source for the low number two weeks ago, Ms Sturgeon said she could not comment further on why Sunday figures were so low, as it was something she is looking into.
The SNP leader also denied there is an over-reliance on “over stretched” GPs or that the slow mobilisation of the country’s mass vaccination centres is the reason for Scotland’s lag.
“I don’t think it is the case. On Sundays there is an issue I am looking into. There is a dip on Sundays and we really need to address that.
“I can’t go into any more detail about that as I am still getting to the bottom of that myself.
“We thought it was right for the over 80s to have the familiar, tried and tested GP system as much as possible.
“As we go into younger age groups, mass centres and community centres become a better way, in part, of doing that.
“Last week there were questions raised, ‘are we not relying on GPs enough?’ There will always be different views on one way or the other; we are trying to take a more sensible approach on the older and more vulnerable people, having them vaccinated in their usual GP setting is more appropriate.
“As we go into the more mobile age groups, getting them through bigger vaccination centres is a better way of doing it.
“It will be a mixed approach right through the vaccination programme.”
Mass vaccination centres
The first minister said by the end of this week everyone aged between 70 and 79, and all adults of any age classed as being clinically extremely vulnerable, will have received a letter inviting them to come for vaccination.
She also welcomed the opening of mass vaccination centres at Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the P&J Live complex in Aberdeen.
Another major vaccination centre is already running at the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow.
With vaccination centres also opening in communities across Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said more than 150 of these would be up and running by the end of this week.
As of Monday morning, 6,112 people had died having tested positive for Covid-19 since March last year.
The daily test positivity rate is 9.5%, up from 8.1% on Sunday when 1,003 new cases were recorded.
There are 1,958 people in hospital confirmed to have Covid-19, up 17 in 24 hours.
Of these, the number of patients in intensive care remains unchanged at 143.
Sturgeon’s vaccine roll out ‘charade’
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The public want to see the vaccine rollout accelerating but instead we are seeing the worst daily figures yet.
“For weeks the First Minister has been claiming that Scotland’s vaccination lag was due to the decision to focus on care homes. But now almost all care home residents on both sides of the border have been vaccinated and the gap is still widening.
“The first minister is in denial if she thinks the public are going to be taken in by this charade.
“We are seeing deadlines for vaccination invites whizz past and tens of thousands of doses apparently sitting unused. The public deserve to know why.”