By Rory Murphy
LibDem health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has condemned regulations, uncovered by The Scotsman which have seen NHS vaccinators ordered to throw out out doses of the COVID-19 vaccine currently being administered to key elderly and vulnerable groups at the mass vaccination centre at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
Mr Cole-Hamilton, left, said: “This regulation is counterproductive and reckless. It is wasteful and slows down the vaccination timetable. The Scottish rollout is already much slower than the rest of the UK’s, we cannot afford any more delays.
“We cannot afford to waste vaccine doses due to unnecessary red tape. The Scottish Government must answer to this, and give the people the certainty and serenity that the Government is doing everything it can to protect our people from the virus and rollout the vaccine to everyone as soon as possible”
Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrats Leader Willie Rennie has today warned that asymptomatic testing must be rapidly scaled up as Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that a new testing centre in Cowdenbeath will open next week to perform lateral flow tests and, if necessary, PCR tests.
The Deputy First Minister announced that similar centres in 19 local authorities were expected to be agreed by the end of Friday. In December it was stated that pilots would “inform any wider expansion of targeted community testing in early January”.
Mr Rennie, who has pursued the issue of asymptomatic testing for months, said: “I am pleased to see the government is finally listening to what I have been saying for several months. More than 1.2m tests have gone unused since Christmas so I welcome the Government’s decision to finally act and expand asymptomatic testing to groups who could benefit from it and communities around the country where the virus is prevalent.
“The new centres will allow the discovery of asymptomatic carriers and decrease the spread of the virus by unknowing carriers. They will give people a new sense of relief as well as providing extra protection to our community and its most vulnerable members.
“However ministerial hesitation has meant that our community testing is months behind other countries. We were told we would see this programme ramp up from early January. The testing capacity must now be rapidly scaled up if these tests are to catch as many asymptomatic cases as possible and drive the virus out.”