COLUMN: WELCOME PROGRESS IN SCOTLAND’S VACCINE ROLL-OUT

Photo credit: Steven Cornfield via Unsplash

It’s felt like a long and dark winter for many reasons, but as the days become a bit brighter so does the news about Scotland’s fight against Covid-19.

Last week marked a significant milestone, with more than one million Scots having now received their first dose of the vaccine. Approximately a quarter of the adult population has had their first jag, including 99% of residents in adult care homes, 99% of over 80s living in the community, 99% of people aged 75-79 and 78% of those aged 70-74.

In the early stages of the vaccine rollout, the Scottish Government faced a barrage of unfair criticism from opposition parties and parts of the press for being ‘too slow’. But it was clearly the right thing to do to take time to ensure those most at risk from Covid receive the vaccine first.

Tory Ministers like Michael Gove have quite shamefully been making efforts to undermine confidence in Scotland’s vaccination programme. The reality is though that, thanks to the hard work of all our NHS workers, uptake of the vaccine here is going extremely well. Last week, despite the wintry weather, we saw record numbers of jags going in people’s arms – and per capita Scotland administered the highest number of doses in Europe.

I’m grateful to everyone here in West Dunbartonshire for setting such a great example and rolling-up their sleeves to get the vaccine. It’s been inspiring to hear of so many people across Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale receiving their jag appointment, including many grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, brothers and sisters.

This is the biggest peacetime logistical challenge we have ever faced, but in local community centres and GP practices all over we’re seeing real progress. All those in the 65 plus age group are on track to be vaccinated by the beginning of next month, and if supplies keep up then the hope is for everyone over 50 to have received at least their first dose in May.

Any mass vaccination programme on this scale is likely to experience a few bumps on the road, but for the vast majority of the constituents I’ve heard from the vaccine roll-out is going very well. If you or a family member are in any of the vulnerable groups who should have received the vaccine by now but haven’t yet, please do get in touch and I’ll do my best to help.

Having recently celebrated a certain milestone birthday myself, I’m looking forward to getting my vaccine appointment when the time comes. Every jag brings us closer to defeating this terrible virus, and I’d encourage all my constituents in West Dunbartonshire to take up the vaccine when invited to do so.

This article was written 15 February 2021 for publication in the Clydebank Post and Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter.

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