Politics

Scotland to meet vaccine targets despite ‘significant reduction’ in supply

Scotland is set to meet its coronavirus vaccine programme targets despite concerns about supply issues, the National Clinical Director has said.

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.

“But it is a significant reduction across the whole of the UK, and we will feel that proportionately, just as Northern Ireland, Wales and England will as well.

“We’re still seeking some clarity on the exact numbers and the Cabinet Secretary for Health will update MSPs and Parliament just as soon as she can.

“Our present understanding is we can still offer everybody in the top nine groups a vaccine, a first dose, and we can still meet our end of July target for the whole adult population.

“But it will inevitably mean that after the top nine, we will just have to think about who comes next and when they come next.

“As of today we do not anticipate it affecting our second doses at all.”

A delay in the delivery of five million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine from India is partly to blame for a forthcoming reduction in the UK’s supply.

The delivery had been expected from the Serum Institute of India but has been held up by four weeks.

Earlier today Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said the UK Government had learned of coronavirus vaccine supply issues “in the last few days”, and suggested the problem is not due to reductions from a single nation.

The Housing Secretary said: “We have learned from some of our manufacturers that there are going to be some supply issues in the last few days.

“A number of global manufacturers are experiencing issues.”

Pressed if the issue was vaccine coming from India, he said: “It’s not that there’s any one factory responsible for this or any one country.”

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