Politics

Nicola Sturgeon announces Scotland’s covid vaccine supply will plummet by 500,000 next month

Scotland will have 500,000 fewer coronavirus vaccine doses over the next month than anticipated, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said there may be times in April where second doses will have to be prioritised.

The SNP leader said: “At present we expect that over the next month we will have approximately 500,000 fewer doses than we had previously anticipated.

“For that reason there may be periods in April where we need to prioritise second doses.

“However, I want to be clear today that we do still expect to offer a first dose of the vaccine to the remaining JCVI priority groups by the middle of next month as planned…we also still expect to have offered a first dose to all adults in the population by the end of July.”

It comes as UK health secretary told MPs at Westminster the nationwide vaccination programme remains on course to hit its targets.

Matt Hancoc told MPs: “The targets to offer a vaccine to everyone aged 50 or over by April 15 and to all adults by the end of July, I can confirm we are on track to meet both of these targets.

“I also want to clear up some rumours that have been circulating and give people reassurance. There will be no weeks in April with no first doses. There will be no cancelled appointments as a result of supply issues – second doses will go ahead as planned.

“Most importantly, the vaccine data published yesterday shows the life-saving impact of this vaccine. It’s not just that the vaccines are safe, it’s that they make you safe – you are much safer having had one.”

Earlier today, Professor Jason Leitch said current targets of inoculating all nine JCVI priority groups, more than half the population, by mid-April will still be met.

He also reassured Scots that all adults will get their first jab by the end of July, as previously announced.

Leitch’s comments will help to calm fears that Scotland’s lockdown could be hampered as a result of the slow down in the production of the jab. He was asked if the slump in production would see Scotland miss its target.

He said: “We do not today believe it will affect the mid-April target or the end of July target.”

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