At 6.64%, Northern Ireland has vaccinated the most, England is 2nd at 6.25% and Scotland is third at 4.85%. The floors at Tory HQ and Pacific Quay are slippy with drool but….
The most important point to make here is that the Scottish Government strategy to prioritise the care home residents and staff is that which was clearly and firmly advised by independent experts at the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. Despite the logistical challenges imposed by the Pfizer vaccine, Scotland had 80% completion in care homes last week and is approaching 100% completion as I write. The situation in England is around 50% completion.
We know from bitter experience, the absolute priority of protecting care home residents. An elderly person, even with underlying conditions, who is isolating in their own home is far less at risk. In this key respect, we are ‘ahead of the curve.’ Last week, Public Health England reported a doubling of outbreaks in care homes there.
In England, the Government has chosen a strategy which I feel sure the Scottish opposition parties and the media would have condemned, to ignore the JCVI advice and, perhaps using the Pfizer logistical challenges as an excuse, has adopted a strategy which will accelerate the number vaccinated. They have prioritised those less at risk, rather than the care home residents, who can be expected to walk through mass testing centres. Rather than ‘ahead of the curve’ or ‘world-beating’ as they will no doubt claim, they have elected to ‘pick the low-hanging fruit’ and, tragically we may find, they have risked many lives.