The Scottish Government is on course to meet its target to vaccinate all care home residents, frontline health workers and over 80s by today, says Jeane Freeman.
The Health Secretary says that “somewhere between 23,000 and 25,000 individuals” still need vaccinated today to ensure the government meets its target.
More than 45,000 people were given their first dose of the vaccine on Wednesday, taking the overall total up to 694,347. Just over 9,000 people have been given their second dose of the vaccine.
Ms Freeman said: “Yesterday we had 98% of care home residents who had been vaccinated, 92% of residents in all other adult care homes, 90% of our over 80s – that number will grow – and we’ve also got 38% of 75 to 79-year-olds vaccinated, as of yesterday.”
Despite this, the Scottish Government has been widely criticised for its slow rollout of the vaccine. Fewer than 10,000 people were vaccinated on Sunday, the fewest since the programme began.
The Scottish Government also set a target of having 1.1m people vaccinated by February 15, including everybody over 70.
Ms Freeman remains positive about reaching that target, despite national clinical director Jason Leitch saying that it might not be possible.
Ms Freeman said: “What Jason was pointing out was that, as we go through towards the end of February, we need to start factoring in second doses.
“As we get towards the end of February and into March, effectively we run two vaccination work streams. Continuing the first doses, bringing in the second doses, all of that, of course, depending on supply.”
‘Please be patient’
Scottish Labour’s interim leader, Jackie Baillie, earlier criticised the government’s rollout, saying: “It is the case that there are problems with the rollout.”
Ms Baillie added: “We are way behind. We have the lowest percentage of the population vaccinated.”
While Ms Freeman has admitted Scotland need to vaccinating quicker, she was quick to defend her government’s record.
She said: “I’m glad we’re getting such high uptake. We focused in the early days on reaching those who are most at risk, that was the right thing to do.
“Now we’re really upping the pace as we move down the age groups.”
The health secretary went on to say: “Please be patient. We will get to you on time. Because we’re now introducing the next group down (0ver 65s) to make sure we’re reaching that number, there will be instances when someone under 70 is receiving a letter but a 70-year-old hasn’t yet received it, but they will”.