Vaccine success allows more optimistic reopening plan

The Scottish Conservatives have said the success of Scotland and the UK’s vaccine scheme makes a more optimistic reopening plan possible, ahead of the First Minister’s BBC briefing on Tuesday.

Public health data shows lower rates of transmission and hospitalisations due to Covid-19.

In Scotland, more than 2.5 million people have been vaccinated. Across the United Kingdom, the figure stands at over 31.5 million people.

Analysis of vaccine rates shows that Scotland could have had 1.5 million fewer vaccines if we were not in the UK scheme.

The SNP previously said the UK adopting its own distinct vaccine scheme was “madness”, “lunacy” and “irresponsible.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “The vaccine scheme has been a tremendous Scottish and UK success story.


“It’s shown once again that we are better off working together across the United Kingdom.

“But more than that, it’s opened up the possibility of getting the country back to normal a bit faster than we might have imagined possible only a few months ago.

“While we can’t lose focus on the health crisis or the looming jobs crisis, the public health data is now much more encouraging.

“We must continue to be cautious but we can now start to look forward to easing restrictions more optimistically.

“Nicola Sturgeon must outline a more hopeful plan in her BBC briefing today.”


Latest test positivity rate (7 day rolling average up to 31 March) is 2.5 per cent. (Public Health Scotland, COVID-19 in Scotland Daily update, link).

Change in numbers in hospital:

March 1

  • 824 people are in hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19.
  • 71 people were in intensive care with recently confirmed COVID-19.

(Scottish Government, Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland, 1 March 2021, link).

April 1

  • 215 people are in hospital with recently confirmed COVID-19.
  • 21 people were in intensive care with recently confirmed COVID-19.

(Scottish Government, Coronavirus (COVID-19): daily data for Scotland, 1 April 2021, link).

Deaths (for the week beginning):

25 Jan: 443 deaths

22 Feb: 230 deaths

22 March: 61 deaths

(NRS, Deaths involving coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland, 31 March 2021, link).

SNP quotes on the vaccine scheme are here:


Mike Russell said it was an ‘idiotic refusal’ to not sign up to the EU vaccine scheme and would ‘cost lives’. In response to a Herald report about the UK opting out of the scheme, he tweeted ‘This idiotic refusal is all about #Brexit and nothing to do with the pandemic.  It will cost lives.’ (Twitter, Michael Russell, 10 July 2020, link).

Maree Todd also said ‘this is all about politics’ and ‘a deliberate car crash’. She tweeted ‘This story has left me with my face in my hands much of the evening. My politician head understands that this is about politics. Admittedly politics I don’t agree with. #Brexit. My pharmacist head is distraught.’ She also tweeted ‘Just think of all the extra pressure on our pharmaceutical supply chains already stretched to the limit by a pandemic. Like watching a deliberate car crash in slow motion.’ (Twitter, Maree Todd, 10 July 2020, link; link).

SNP Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said it was ‘lunacy’ and ‘irresponsible’ for the UK to opt out of the EU vaccine scheme. He tweeted ‘This lunacy shows how ideological, inept & irresponsible the Brexiteer buffoons are.’ (Twitter, Kevin Stewart MSP, 10 July 2020, link).


Hannah Bardell said it was ‘lunacy’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘madness’ to opt out of the EU vaccine scheme. She tweeted ‘This is complete lunacy and deeply dangerous. We need out of the UK and away from this madness as soon as possible.’ (Twitter, Hannah Bardell MP, 10 July 2020, link).


Owen Thompson said it was ‘a new low’ that the UK was opting out of the EU vaccine scheme. The SNP for Midlothian tweeted ‘UK Government hitting a new Low!’ in response to a Sky News report about the decision (Twitter, Owen Thompson MP, 10 July 2020, link).

Philippa Whitford described the UK being outside the EMA as a “#Brexitshambles”. (Philippa Whitford Twitter, 8 February 2020, link).

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