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Top Scots medic says GPs doing Covid jabs 'don't all work on Sundays'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 02/02/2021 David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline
Jason Leitch wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a curtain: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Scotland's top medic today said that Scotland's slow vaccine rollout had been hindered by GPs whose surgeries are closed on Sundays. 

National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said 'Sundays are a little bit tricky' and that the vaccination team has been asked to 'have a look at that'.

Holyrood ministers have been accused of being too slow over the vaccination rollout in recent days, with opposition politicians saying the rest of the UK is moving faster.

On Sunday, just 9,628 vaccinations were completed in Scotland, out of a UK-wide total of 322,000.

Prof Leitch added that the reason for the drop on Sunday was because of where the jabs are being administered, with most being delivered in GP practices which 'didn't all work (on) Sunday'.

'We decided to do the over-80s in their own practices, where they would know their nurses, where they would know their GPs, where they would be close to home,' he said.

The situation is believed to be different in England where, under an agreement between the British Medical Association and NHS England 'practices will need to be prepared to offer vaccinations seven days a week so that the vaccine is delivered within its short shelf-life and so patients receive it as soon as possible'.

Jason Leitch standing in front of a screen: National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said 'Sundays are a little bit tricky' and that the vaccination team has been asked to 'have a look at that' © Provided by Daily Mail National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said 'Sundays are a little bit tricky' and that the vaccination team has been asked to 'have a look at that' Nicola Sturgeon standing in front of a laptop: Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of being too slow over the vaccination rollout in recent days, with just 9,628 vaccinations completed on Sunday © Provided by Daily Mail Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of being too slow over the vaccination rollout in recent days, with just 9,628 vaccinations completed on Sunday

Just 9,628 patients received their first vaccine dose yesterday, the fewest since the Scottish Government began publishing figures on January 11.


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Scotland currently has the lowest rate of vaccine coverage of any of the four UK nations, with 575,987 doses administered to date - around six per cent of the 9.3million first doses handed out across Britain. 

Ms Sturgeon was also dragged into a bitter internal SNP row after MP Joanna Cherry, a close associate of former party leader Alex Salmond, was sacked from its frontbench team in Westminster.

Ruth Davidson, the Conservative leader at Holyrood, said: 'As yesterday saw a new low for vaccinations and Scotland officially having the lowest rate of any of the nations and regions of the UK, the dead cat strategy is enacted.

'Watch all columnist rush to dissect the Joanna Cherry sacking, rather than SNP vaccine failure.'

Widely tipped as a future SNP leadership challenger to Nicola Sturgeon and an ally of previous leader Alex Salmond, the barrister said she had been removed from her role despite 'hard work, results & a strong reputation'.

The QC, who has been involved in an internal party row over gender recognition and trans rights, delivered a parting shot as she said the SNP needs to 'radically rethink our strategy'.  

Facing questions about why Scotland appeared to be rolling out its vaccination programme at a slower pace than across the rest of the UK, Ms Sturgeon yesterday said: 'There's a long way to go in this programme and it's really important we do it methodically, sustainably - concentrating on the most vulnerable first.

'That's what we have been doing and I think as we go through this week we will see further evidence that is what is happening.'

She also claimed the Government had 'adapted our estimates' since the Health Secretary said a million people could be vaccinated by the end of January, but it was 'firmly on track' with the revised targets for over-70s and the most clinically vulnerable.

Scotland has entered the second phase of its plan to give the population a vaccine to combat coronavirus with two new mass vaccination centres opening on Monday.

The facilities at Aberdeen's P&J Live venue and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) will be able to inoculate an extra 27,000 people per week.

NHS staff spent last week vaccinating each other as part of their inductions at the centres.

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