By Bill Heaney

Scottish Labour and the LibDems have called for answers from the Scottish Government as the First Minister announced today that Sunday saw 9,628 vaccinations – the lowest number since daily vaccination figures have been published.

Scottish Labour has said the Scottish Government must show more ambition if it is to match the vaccine rates that other parts of the UK are achieving.

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, said:  “The First Minister insists the Scottish Government is reaching its vaccination targets but they have set the bar too low and now we have become the UK’s underachievers on roll-out rates.

“With vaccinations slowing down, the Scottish Government needs to push ahead with a more effective plan that can speed up the pace. They must show more ambition and outline details for a full 24-hour vaccination roll-out.

“If we are in race against the virus then we’re losing that race and it is the people of Scotland who are paying the price.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “I know the FM is irritated by comparisons with England on the vaccination programme but it is a fair benchmark, it shows what is possible and we should be ambitious with this lifesaving vaccine.

“I want to praise the NHS teams for vaccinating 35,000 people yesterday. At last, we are moving in the right direction but it has taken seven weeks and we are still behind the rate in England.

“The First Minister continues to cling onto the care homes as the reason for the slow roll-out. But there is no reason why the rest of the programme had to wait for them to be done.

“Both the Army and GPs have offered assistance to help speed up the roll-out, the First Minister should look at how we can put this expertise to use getting jabs into arms.”

On community testing and the return of some pupils to schools from 22 February, Mr Rennie added: “After weeks of obstruction, the First Minister has now acknowledged the need for more community testing which is something I have been seeking for a long time now.

“With routine testing for schools now on the cards the Government must race to get this system in place before more pupils return to classrooms.”

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