“Childish game play” over vaccine dose numbers is not helping the country’s battle against the coronavirus, it has been warned.
It follows days of wrangling over how many vaccines are ready to be received by GPs for use in Scotland.
A UK Government source earlier this week suggested Scotland had access to more than 700,000 doses, leading to claims Holyrood was struggling to get the inoculations to doctors in a quick manner.
Subsequently, a Scottish Government source told this paper the 700,000 figure alluded to the number of doses allocated to the country, suggesting they could still be in large containment units south of the border.
Childish game playing from both the SNP and Conservative governments won’t save lives.”
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie
Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed earlier on Wednesday the Scottish Government had not taken receipt of all its doses.
A total of 309,909 Scots have so far received their first dose of the vaccine, according to the latest figures.
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has called on both governments to be open and transparent with people.
Scottish Conservative leader at Holyrood Ruth Davidson questioned Ms Sturgeon during First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday on the speed of the vaccine dose roll-out.
Ms Davidson said: “As the Deputy First Minister has accepted, the Scottish Government is in receipt of a total of 700,000 doses.
“To vaccinate the first of the priority groups, which is care home residents and staff, healthcare workers and everyone over 80, the Scottish Government, by its own figures, needs 560,000 vaccine doses.
“Again by its own figures, which were released on January 11, the Scottish Government already had 490,000 doses sitting ready to go — a fortnight ago.
“Therefore, a fortnight ago, the Scottish Government was sitting on enough stocks to vaccinate 87.5% of its target groups.
“It has had them for a fortnight.
“We hear 309,909 people have received the vaccine, which is 55 per cent, and now the delivery date has slipped by a week. Why? Can the First Minister confirm that the stocks from two weeks ago have reached GPs?”
Ms Sturgeon stressed there is a difference between the supplies that have been allocated to Scotland and “what we have in hand”.
She said: “The majority of doses that are in Scotland are actually already in people’s arms.
“The rest of them will be supplying GPs and other vaccination centres over the next few days to make sure that they get into people’s arms. That is how a supply chain of anything works.”
She added: “If Ruth Davidson’s argument is based on the premise that we somehow have 750,000 doses — remember, the UK Government is adamant that it does not want us to talk about the total number of doses that are allocated, but let us take what she says — that must mean that, given that we are getting our proportionate population-based share, the UK Government, for England, has seven million doses.
“It has not done seven million vaccinations so presumably it is sitting on supplies for no reason in the same way that Ruth Davidson suggests that we are. That would be the logical conclusion of that argument.”
‘Childish game play’
North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie said both the SNP and Conservative governments should act in the best interests of the country and cease the “childish game play”.
He said: “What is needed now is a massive effort to get vaccines into arms. Childish game playing from both the SNP and Conservative governments won’t save lives.
“This would all be easier if ministers in both of our governments were a bit more open and transparent about vaccine delivery, in order to give people some hope and some clarity about the challenges that remain ahead of us.”