'Humiliating': Scotland misses key vaccination target by tens of thousands

·2-min read
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the media after visiting St Margaret's House where she met EU Citizens applying for the EU Settlement Scheme on June 23, 2021 in Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Milligan / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW MILLIGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon's government has missed its key target to vaccinate all 40 to 49-year-olds. (AFP via Getty Images)

Nicola Sturgeon is facing growing pressure after Scotland missed its key target date for fully vaccinating all 40 to 49-year-olds.

Double-jabbing all over-40s is a "gateway condition" to enable lockdown restrictions to ease in two weeks' time.

The first minister told the Scottish Parliament last month that the 40-to-49 age group should have received both coronavirus jabs by 26 July.

However, Public Health Scotland’s latest vaccination figures released on Monday showed 23.4% had yet to receive a second dose.

The rolling rates of people with two coronavirus jabs in Scotland.
The rolling rate of 40- to 49-year-olds with two coronavirus jabs in Scotland.

That means about 150,000 people are yet to be fully vaccinated, as had been pledged by Sturgeon.

On Sunday, Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie branded the situation “humiliating for them [the SNP government] but it should worry us all”.

Baillie warned that the “stalling” vaccine rollout was the biggest threat to the planned route out of lockdown.

Watch: UK vaccine data in numbers

All major COVID restrictions are due to be relaxed on 9 August, but only if the over-40 age group is fully vaccinated – which the Scottish government has described as a “gateway condition”.

Sturgeon went on the defensive on Monday afternoon, claiming she said second vaccine doses would be offered to 40 to 49s, rather than delivered.

Yet her exact words to the Scottish Parliament had been that “by 26 July, we expect to have given second doses to all 40 to 49-year-olds”.

She said at a Police Scotland training college in Tulliallan: “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.

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

"What we set ourselves... 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."

The first minister has also previously said all 30 to 39-year-olds should have had their second doses by 20 August. However, 63.1% of people in this age group still hadn’t been double-jabbed as of Monday.

Sturgeon is set to update the Scottish Parliament on the easing of restrictions on Tuesday next week (3 August).

Watch: Monday's politics briefing