Covid Scotland: Demand for Covid-19 booster rollout to be sped up amid concern over rising case numbers
Calls have been made for the Covid-19 booster vaccine rollout in Scotland to be sped up, amid “alarm” over continued high case numbers.
It comes as the UK Government faced calls from health chiefs to implement “plan B” – the option for tighter Covid restrictions over winter.
Covid case numbers have risen across the UK in recent days, reaching a peak of almost 50,000 on Monday.
UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid repeated his warning that Covid-19 cases could reach 100,000 a day but resisted demands to reintroduce restrictions.
Figures are comparatively lower in Scotland, but the decrease in cases since early September has recently begun to slow.
And the seven day average daily case rate has increased since last week.
Weekly deaths of people with Covid-19 in Scotland had fallen towards the end of September and the beginning of this month. But the figures for October 11-17 show 139 deaths, up eight on the previous week according to the National Records of Scotland.
Scottish Labour said it was time to “raise the alarm” over Scotland’s Covid situation.
“It is clear now that case numbers remain at a worrying level across Scotland and that more lives are being lost,” said health spokesperson Jackie Baillie.
“Despite this, the SNP government continues to keep its head in the sand and pretend that everything is going to plan.
“We know that vaccination is key to tackling this pandemic. But in the face of rising cases, we are seeing a sluggish roll-out of the booster programme.
“Enough is enough. We need the SNP government to end the complacency and take action now to ramp up the programme to keep people safe.”
It comes after opposition parties accused the government of “sneaking out” a delay to the booster vaccine programme.
The Scottish Government initially announced that over 50s, unpaid carers and those with underlying health conditions would be able to book their third dose online from October.
This appears to have been delayed, with the NHS Inform website now saying over 50s can book this from “mid November”.
The Scottish Government denied this and said the vaccination programme had “always evolved to take into account feedback from delivery and operational colleagues”.Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton however said the health secretary must engage with the public.
"We know that caseloads are still far too high so there can be no excuses for these delays."The Health Secretary needs to tell the public what steps he will take to speed up this rollout,” he said.Of the latest weekly deaths announced yesterday, 18 were people aged under 65 while 29 were aged 65-74 and 92 were 75 or older.
Glasgow saw 23 deaths, with 16 in Fife and 10 in North Lanarkshire.
A total of 108 deaths were in hospitals, 19 were in care homes and 11 were at home or in a non-institutional setting.
The statistics are published weekly and cover all deaths registered in Scotland where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.
They differ from the lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths announced daily by the Scottish Government because the NRS figures include suspected or probable cases of Covid-19.
Under the daily figure, the death toll stands at 8,980 after 26 coronavirus fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours.