Coronavirus in Scotland: Daily vaccination rate to halve as supply drop takes effect

The effect of an expected drop in Covid-19 vaccine supply will be seen in Scotland this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned, with daily figures expected to be around half what they were last week.

Speaking at the Covid-19 daily briefing on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said she expects Scotland to vaccinate around 30,000 people a day this week, in contrast to last week when figures hovered around 60,000 a day.

The NHS Louisa Jordan will operate on just five days a week rather than seven to account for the limited supply. Some other centres around the country may reduce their hours, Ms Sturgeon said.

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Vaccination figures announced for Sunday had already dropped below those of last week, although lower vaccination rates have been reported every Sunday since the beginning of the rollout.

A member of the public outside the main entrance to the coronavirus mass vaccine centre at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021.

Some 31,416 first doses were given on Sunday, bringing the total first doses in Scotland to 1,255,190.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman said last week the supply lag would delay the beginning of vaccination for those under 65 with underlying health conditions.

Ms Sturgeon said on Monday the Scottish Government’s target of offering a vaccine to all over-70s and the clinically extremely vulnerable by that date had been met.

The First Minister announced last week that vaccination rates were due to dip in the last two weeks of February, as Pfizer is set to pause manufacturing to increase capacity for future production.

The total number of doses delivered by Pfizer to the UK from February to March is set to remain unchanged, and the UK Government insisted there was “no issue” in relation to supply.

Ms Sturgeon said other vaccination centres may limit their operating hours due to the drop in supply.

She said NHS Scotland would try to give vaccinators and other staff “as much forward sight as possible” of supplies, but that some last-minute, short-term interruptions were inevitable in a programme of this scale.

"The kind of daily figures that we have been reporting over the last week or so – in the last week it was 60,000 on some days – if I look at this week and into into next week, I would doubt that we will get to those daily levels, probably around 30,000 a day, and that is just about using this supply that we've got appropriately,” she said.

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"When the supply starts to increase again, we will be in a position to very rapidly bring the Louisa Jordan back from five days to seven days.

"We're going to see these issues through this programme, that's the nature of it. But that shouldn't take away from the fact that we're actually in a much better position now than we thought we would be. We have vaccinated more people right now than we anticipated.”

Chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen said large-scale administration of second doses of Pfizer vaccine was expected to begin in some health board areas this week at care homes.

"That will then be the trigger for looking at two streams of vaccination,” she said.

"That's what we're planning for in terms of continuing with first doses, and then for those who will need their second doses we will begin to see that play out over the coming weeks.”

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