Covid Scotland: Vaccine rollout going as fast as it can, Nicola Sturgeon says, after lowest weekly total since March

The vaccine rollout in Scotland is progressing as fast as it can, Nicola Sturgeon has said, after the lowest weekly dose total since March.

Just under 223,000 first and second doses were given in the week to June 27 – the lowest total since the second week in March.

Asked why the rollout has progressed more slowly than that in Wales, with 80 per cent of adults in Wales given a first dose three-and-a-half weeks before that milestone was reached in Scotland Ms Sturgeon said she could not speak for the Welsh rollout.

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“I can't speak for Wales and I’m sure the Welsh Government would explain the system they are using,” she told a Covid-19 media briefing on Tuesday.

Vaccination in Doncaster, England. Picture: PA Media

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"I can only speak for Scotland and I know we have been vaccinating as quickly as possible with supplies … particularly with Pfizer, the complicated storage issues mean that we’ve needed storage capacity and we’ve done that as quickly as possible.”

The Scottish Government has previously said the rollout has not been slowed down by vaccinator staffing shortages, which have been reported in various health boards, particularly Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lanarkshire.

And Ms Sturgeon has also previously said the rollout has not been slowed down compared to other UK nations due to the high number of vaccine appointments which have been missed.

Almost 500,000 vaccine appointments have been missed since February, but Ms Sturgeon has said this rate is in line with other nations.

The programme for second doses is now dependent on previous levels of supply, Ms Sturgeon said.

“If you look at second doses today, they are lower than they have been in recent days over recent weeks,” she said.

"That will partly be supply, but the other limiting factor there is the number of people who would have got their first dose eight weeks ago.

“If you go back eight weeks from today, at that point it was supply, the daily number of first doses was relatively low.”

On Monday some 9,500 second doses were given, the lowest number since April 5. On May 4, eight weeks previously, 13,000 first doses were given.

Asked if the time between doses could be cut to speed up the rollout, Ms Sturgeon said this would be against the advice of clinicians.

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