Health Secretary to set out how Covid vaccine will be deployed in Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon has said the announcement on a vaccine for coronavirus was “the best news” since the start of the pandemic, as she confirmed the government was already planning how to get it distributed across Scotland when it becomes available.

Speaking in Holyrood today, she said the Pfizer announcement on its trials was “extremely encouraging” as she was challenged by Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament, on how the government would deliver a vaccine.

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Ms Davidson agreed the announcement was cause for “cautious optimism” and highlighted the pre-order of 40 million doses of the vaccine for the UK already, but said there should be no postcode lottery for its "effective and timely” delivery across Scotland.

News of a Covid vaccine was welcomed in Holyrood. Picture: PA

"We already know from the Health Secretary we won't be using the same model as for this season's flu vaccine programme because, as she rightly says, lessons need to be learned,” Ms Davidson said.

“Many of the problems we saw involved removing administration from GPs and handing it to health boards – some coped admirably, in others there were significant to chronic problems.

"Is the First Minister satisfied that a national roll-out of Covid vaccinations will see all health boards start at the same level of readiness so this potential game changer can be administered equitably and fairly across the country no matter where you live?”

Ms Sturgeon said Health Secretary Jeane Freeman would “over the next period set out much more detail of exactly how we would deploy the vaccine and the programme in place to ensure its delivered to priority groups across the whole of the country”. “We are confident that health boards will be at a level of readiness to deliver that,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon said more detail would be set out, but the government was following the recommendations of the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation on how it should be prioritised.

She added: “This will be one of the biggest vaccination programmes that we have ever undertaken. But let's not lose sight of the fact this is good news. Yesterday’s announcement about a vaccine is the best news we have heard since the start of this pandemic."

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