Nicola Sturgeon grilled over COVID-19 vaccinations in Scotland
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During an STV interview, the First Minister claimed that an independent Scotland “could have chosen to procure the way it thought was best”. She added that those who think the situation would have been worse were “basically plucking this out of thin air”.
Ms Sturgeon said: “This notion that the UK has only been able to procure the vaccine and vaccinate so many people because we’re out of the EU is not born out, firstly by the reality that the UK was still in the transition period, there subject to all of the rules and regulations of the EU, when it procured the vaccine.
“European countries are able if they so wish, particularly during health emergencies to procure in the way the UK did.”
Ms Sturgeon claimed that an independent Scotland would have had similar vaccine success as it has now.
She insisted that there is “no evidential basis to say Scotland would not have vaccinated as many people as we’ve vaccinated right now”.
Donald Cameron, Scottish Tories health spokesperson, told the Telegraph that Ms Sturgeon’s claims were “delusional nonsense”.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon cannot accept the obvious truth about our world-leading vaccination programme, which is saving countless lives, because of her bitter and blind hostility to the United Kingdom.
“More than 2.7million Scots have had their first jag which should be a cause for celebration but instead Sturgeon gives a churlish response with zero evidence to support her wild claim that an independent Scotland would have done just as well.”
Last year, a series of ministers called on the UK to sign up to the EU’s vaccine procurement and were outraged when Boris Johnson refused.
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At the time, the SNP’s Constitution Secretary Mike Russell said: “This idiotic refusal is all about Brexit and nothing to do with the pandemic. It will cost lives.”
Instead, Mr Johnson put together the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce and poured millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into setting up vaccine production lines.
So far, the UK has vaccinated well over half of Britons whereas the EU has only inoculated around a fifth of its population.
The EU failed to reach its target of inoculating 80 percent of older people by the end of March.
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