FMQs: Armed Forces called in to speed up vaccine rollout

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed the UK Armed Forces will help provide more support and start administering vaccines in Scotland to speed up the SNP’s slow rollout.

The opening of mass vaccination centres has finally started to increase daily vaccination figures to new highs, after they hit a record low on Sunday.

The SNP are still far behind the rest of the UK on vaccinating the 75-79 year old age groups, and yesterday it emerged that the target date for vaccine letters reaching all over 70s has been delayed a week.

At First Minister’s Questions, Ruth Davidson asked what was being done to boost consistently lower Sunday figures and how the postcode lottery was being fixed.

Nicola Sturgeon dodged the question of when mass vaccination centres will hit their target numbers, although she did agree to eventually publish daily vaccine figures by health board, which the Scottish Conservatives called for four weeks ago.

Speaking on the BBC’s Kaye Adams programme today about the slow rollout in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK, John Montgomery, chair of the south Glasgow GP committee, said: “we’ve probably missed the boat to be honest with you at this stage”. 

Scottish Conservative Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson said: “It’s fantastic news that the Armed Forces will be on the frontline helping to speed up the rollout in Scotland. That’s exactly the kind of shot in the arm the programme needs and it will go a long way to restoring confidence across the country.

“We always knew the number of vaccinations would rise when mass centres opened and we’re all delighted to see that’s finally happening. A big increase is to be expected just days after we hit a record low.

“Problems haven’t vanished overnight, though, and the First Minister went into denial mode again today, just 24 hours after her health secretary admitted the SNP need to go faster.

“In the same breath, Nicola Sturgeon welcomes scrutiny and rejects it out of hand.

“The facts show we’re still far behind the rest of the UK on vaccinating over 75s and a postcode lottery is creating problems for people across Scotland.

“Nicola Sturgeon avoided answering when all mass centres would hit their 20,000 target figures. Although, we are pleased that more daily vaccine data will soon be published.”

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