Covid vaccine: Why Nicola Sturgeon is wrong about 'childish politics' over target – Scotsman comment

The row over the vaccination of 40 to 49-year-olds is either an example of “childish politics” or a sign that the Scottish government’s inoculation programme is falling behind, depending on who you believe.

Nicola Sturgeon had told MSPs that she expected everyone in this age group to have been “given” the vaccine by yesterday, but the actual figure is substantially short of that, at 75.8 per cent.

She sought to explain this away by saying that the target was for 40 to 49-year-olds to have been “offered” the vaccine by now, not actually administered it.

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On reflection, the First Minister may be wishing she had used that particular word, rather than the one she chose.

The essence of the debate is whether the vaccination programme is going as quickly as possible.

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Covid Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon claims vaccine target for 40-49-year-olds has be...

On the one hand, bureaucratic dilly-dallying could be causing unnecessary delays, with people “offered” appointments far in the future merely to try to mask the problem.

On the other, people could be failing to attend appointments for a variety of reasons, not all of which are to do with idiotic anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. The cost of taking time off or travelling to the vaccination centre will be significant for some.

Vaccination against Covid is the way out of this crisis (Picture: Michael Gillen)Vaccination against Covid is the way out of this crisis (Picture: Michael Gillen)
Vaccination against Covid is the way out of this crisis (Picture: Michael Gillen)

So the message from the current row is not at all “childish”, as Sturgeon sought to claim.

It is simple, straightforward and absolutely vital for the sake of both lives and livelihoods: we need to get a move on.

However, it does not just apply to the First Minister, her government and everyone involved in the process, it applies equally to the public.

We all have our part to play in this crisis and vaccination is the most important thing we can do that will really make a difference. It could save your life and the lives of others, and it will help the economy get back on track.

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Furthermore, if that’s not enough, there are increasing incentives to be able to demonstrate you are “double-jabbed” in terms of attending sports events or university lectures, travelling abroad and a host of other freedoms we once took for granted.

So it's good if government ministers feel the heat when they appear to miss a target. But we should not be standing on the sidelines cheering one side or the other. We should feel it too.

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