Covid Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon claims vaccine target for 40-49-year-olds has been met and accuses critics of 'childish politics'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has claimed the Scottish Government aimed to have offered second doses to people aged 40-49 by Monday, despite pledging in Holyrood more than a month ago they would have been delivered by that deadline.

By Craig Paton
Monday, 26th July 2021, 2:00 pm
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a shop selling masks in Edinburgh city centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a shop selling masks in Edinburgh city centre. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Opposition parties have attacked the Scottish Government over its pledge to give second doses to the 40-49 age group by Monday, when just 75.8 per cent of those in that group are fully covered against Covid-19.

But the First Minister said the target was to offer first doses, not provide them, by July 26.

However, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs in a coronavirus update to Parliament that “by July 26, we expect to have given second doses to all 40- to 49-year-olds”.

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Speaking at the Police Scotland training college in Tulliallan on Monday, Ms Sturgeon said: “I think it’s important we deal in facts and not in childish politics, which at this time is not what we should be doing.

“No vaccination target has been missed and that’s not an opinion, that’s a fact.

“What we set ourselves the target of was offering, by now, the first dose of the vaccine to every adult, everybody over the age of 18, and two doses to the over 40 age group.

“Those targets have been met. Everybody in those age groups had those offers and appointments.

“Uptake rates are very high by the standards of any previous vaccination programme.”

However, the First Minister’s statement to Parliament did not mention offering jags to those aged between 40 and 49, instead saying they hope to have “given” them.

For all people over the age of 40, 90.7 per cent have been vaccinated with both doses, recent figures show.

The First Minister said: “This is a vaccination programme that is outstanding in its success – in the over-40s over 90 per cent are fully vaccinated with two doses.

“But in this country vaccination is not compulsory, rightly in my view, and therefore we still have work to do.

“We’re encouraging those who’ve had an appointment for vaccination who haven’t come forward to now do so.”

Ms Sturgeon’s comments come as her health secretary said he remained “confident” that further easing of restrictions would take place on August 9, despite the target being missed.

“The First Minister, of course, is going to update Parliament on August 3, and it is appropriate that she gives the update – I wouldn’t want to pre-empt it, but we’re still confident of being able to move forward,” Humza Yousaf told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme.

He added: “We can say that 91 per cent of over-40s have been fully vaccinated.

“You have to remember, this is a non-mandatory vaccine. To have 91 per cent of over-40s vaccinated in a non-mandatory vaccine is quite simply an astounding achievement and our vaccinators and all those involved in the programme should be thanked for their efforts.

“Anybody suggesting, as the opposition have done, it is humiliating, or a failure, I’m afraid that’s just mischief.”

The Telegraph reported on Monday that vaccination centres may be set up near busy pubs and restaurants in an effort to ensure young people get jagged.