Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 1st December 2020.

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The First Minister:

The short answer to all of that is yes. I am happy to look into the particular point about Lanarkshire. We allocate flu vaccine supplies fairly, based on the estimates that health boards give of needs and uptake in different eligibility groups. Therefore, there is no unfairness in the system for allocating the vaccine. However, if there has been a particular issue in Lanarkshire that I am not aware of, I am happy—as is, I am sure, the health secretary—to look at it.

The health secretary has already made a statement to Parliament about the plans for the roll-out of the Covid vaccination programme. As I said, she updated the Cabinet, which reviewed those plans this morning.

This is a complex logistical exercise. It is more complex than the flu vaccinations exercise, partly because of the storage conditions and temperatures required to store and deal with some of the vaccines. Also, it is likely that, for all the vaccines that we expect to get, people will need two doses three weeks apart, or thereabouts.

It is a complex exercise. However, planning is under way and is in a good state, and we are ready to start vaccinating people as soon as the vaccines are licensed and we start to get supplies through. We are very hopeful that that might happen in the next couple of weeks.