The Scottish Mail on Sunday
VACCINE REBOOT SHAMBLES
Vaccine plea to young Scots fails as pop-up clinics deserted
FRESH warnings have been issued over the stalling vaccine programme – as Ministers face a race to inoculate younger adults.
Serious concerns have been raised about a growing reluctance among the under-30s to come forward for their jabs, with just over 21 per cent receiving them so far.
Figures show only 2,500 people had their first dose of the vaccine in the past 24 hours, with just over 1,000 aged 18-29.
Last week, Ministers were criticised for closing one of the largest vaccination hubs, Glasgow’s NHS Louisa Jordan, to make way for pop concerts and the COP26 climate conference.
Renewed efforts to increase uptake has seen a number of pop-up vaccine clinics launched across the country in places such as football grounds and shopping centres.
But pictures show the sites were almost completely empty yesterday, with nurses and vaccinators awaiting arrivals. Opposition parties criticised the Government for its sluggish rollout of the vaccine.
Scottish Tory health spokeswoman Annie Wells called on Ministers to ‘redouble their efforts to ramp up the rollout’ for fear ‘plans to ease restrictions’ would be put at risk.
She added: ‘The SNP has already bafflingly closed Scotland’s largest vaccination centre at the Hydro. Scenes of people at other vaccination centres with nobody to jag are completely unacceptable.
‘These images should be an urgent wake-up call to SNP Ministers to ensure young people in particular can get a vaccine as easily as possible.
‘The SNP is stumbling towards the finishing line, despite the overall success of the vaccination scheme across the country.
‘Ministers appear devoid of ideas to alter this downward trend and that must change immediately.’
Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner has called for all adults to be vaccinated ahead of pupils’ return to school next month.
Bruce Adamson said: ‘Children have made huge sacrifices, and their rights have been significantly affected by restrictions over the last 17 months. Adults need to play their part in reducing Covid and the consequent impact of Covid restrictions on children.’
It comes as figures show the vaccination programme has stalled in the past week, throwing ‘freedom day’ plans for August 9, when restrictions are set to further ease, into doubt.
Nicola Sturgeon has warned every person who fails to get vaccinated is a risk to the ending of the restrictions. Statistics show 3,994,883 people have received the first dose of the vaccine and 3,064,441 have had a second dose.
That is an increase of only 2,566 first doses and 19,683 second doses across the country in the past 24 hours. The number of people aged 18-29 who received their first dose between July 22 and July 23 was 1,190.
Despite promises by Health Secretary Humza Yousaf that everyone over 18 would have their first dose by July 18, public health data shows only 71.4 per cent of people aged 18-29 have had one jab so far, with only 21.5 per cent fully vaccinated.
It means there are around 160,000 in the 18-29 age group who have still not received their first dose a week after the target passed.
To encourage vaccine uptake among the lower age categories, health boards set up drop-in centres at IKEA in Edinburgh and Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena ahead of the club’s match with Cowdenbeath yesterday.
But there was little activity at the sites yesterday when passing footfall was expected to be high.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘Vaccination is the best way to
‘Stumbling towards the finishing line’ ‘Adults need to play their part in reducing Covid’
protect ourselves, our family and friends and our communities, which is why drop-in mobile centres have visited a range of sites such as football grounds, parks, workplaces and shopping centres.’
Yesterday’s figures showed Scotland experienced the highest death toll on a Saturday for months, with 11 people losing their fight with Covid.
Fewer people were in hospital – 478 compared with 502 the previous day – with three more in intensive care, up from 57 to 60.
Steven Reicher, professor of social psychology at St Andrews University, said the Government needed to continue driving down the rate of infections, adding: ‘Far too many people are infected, but it may just be that we’re over the worst of it’.