The UK is the first country to approve three vaccines to counter the virus but now faces a monumental deployment task.
As Scottish Liberal Democrats, we are calling for a Scottish Government minister to have the sole task of vaccine roll out. Scotland is lagging behind the rest of the UK in its vaccination drive. It is not good enough to have ministers' double-hatting such a critical job: a single, accountable minister is needed.
We need to capitalise on the outstanding work of our scientists in creating these vaccines and ensure the success of what will be the UK’s biggest mass vaccination programme. The UK Government has appointed a vaccine deployment minister (Nadhim Zahawi); Scotland needs one too.
“The public deserve to know that the Scottish Government is handling the roll out with the utmost focus. This cannot be a ‘side job’. One person needs to be accountable to the Scottish people without other distractions,” says Bruce Wilson, Liberal Democrat candidate for Edinburgh Central in May’s Holyrood elections.
The call comes as government data shows Scotland is behind the rest of the UK in its vaccine deployment, with enough doses administered in England to inoculate 4.1% of the population against 3% in Scotland. While seven mass vaccination hubs have been opened to patients in England, Scotland has none.
“It is shameful that so many lives have been lost to our own governments’ shambolic responses. The quicker and more effectively population immunity is achieved the greater the benefit in terms of preventing deaths, safeguarding health and saving jobs,” says Bruce.
“The sooner we stop the spread and protect those most vulnerable, the sooner we can return to creating a brighter future.”