The success of Scotland’s vaccine rollout has shown the positives of remaining in the UK, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said.
As of Wednesday, 2,463,069 people had received their first dose and a further 354,756 had been given their second coronavirus jab.
The Scottish Government has repeatedly said it is on track to inoculate all of the priority groups set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), including all over-50s and those who are vulnerable, by mid-April.
Speaking ahead of the announcement of his party’s plans for the NHS, Mr Ross said: “The vaccination rollout has been an incredible success story across Scotland and the United Kingdom. It has shown the overwhelming benefits of us working together across our Union to emerge from the Covid crisis.
“My thanks go to our heroic NHS staff, volunteers in our communities and our armed forces who have all stepped up to deliver this astonishing achievement.
“We are seeing, with reduced hospitalisations and deaths, the positive effects of the vaccine and how it will help us return to a sense of normality in the coming months.
“The SNP are in denial about how much worse off we would be if they had got their way and we were left out of the world-leading UK vaccine scheme.
“The vaccine rollout has exposed another glaring weakness in the nationalist argument for independence and the SNP’s plan to put another divisive referendum over our recovery.
“The Scottish Conservatives are committed to fully funding our NHS over the course of the next Parliament to ensure our health service is prepared for any future challenges.”
Sandesh Gulhane, a Tory candidate for Glasgow and a GP, also urged people offered the vaccine to take it up.
“I am immensely proud to be playing a part in delivering vaccines into people’s arms,” she said.
“I would encourage everyone to take up the vaccine when it is your turn, particularly those in our BAME communities. It really can help save your life.
“We must continue to work together across the United Kingdom in order to give that level of protection to people as quickly as possible. It is by far and away our best route out of restrictions.”