The Health Secretary issued a new plan for the vaccination programme on Wednesday.
We wrote about it in detail here.
Then the plan was removed from the Scottish Government website but it reappeared on Thursday with a few changes. The Health Secretary announced the plan in parliament on Wednesday here. The press were then invited to a lengthy press briefing with the Chief Deputy Medical Officer, Dr Nicola Steedman, the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Professor Alison Strath and Caroline Lamb who is leading for The Scottish Government on delivery of C-19 Vaccination on Wednesday afternoon, which we attended. It is really interesting to understand the detailed planning that the government has made for the biggest mass vaccination programme in Scotland.
There are plans to use the EICC and Queen Margaret University as mass vaccination centres in the coming weeks.
So what are the changes in the new plan?
The date on the front of the plan has changed. The new plan which would appear to be the one that The Scottish Government is now to use is dated 14 January. (They are both reproduced below for comparison purposes and if you pick up any additional changes then please let us know and add it in the comment section below.)
On Page 3 there is a different timetable for delivery of 400,000 weekly doses of the vaccine. It is now the goal to deliver that number of doses by the end rather than the beginning of February – and that is actually what the Health Secretary said in parliament.
Ms Freeman said on Wednesday: “We currently have supplies coming through for the 2 authorised vaccines – Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca. Our planning scales up delivery so we are able from February to vaccinate with an average of around 400,000 people a week by the end of that month. The Moderna vaccine is now the third vaccine to be approved and as with the others, we will receive our population share of the supply secured on behalf of the 4 nations by the UK Vaccines Taskforce. We currently expect the Moderna vaccine to be available to us from early April and as before, we will use it in line with JCVI advice.”
On Page 7 of the new plan there is more detail about the actual process of ordering the vaccine and the process of it moving from a holding centre which is in England to getting it to a GP or health board in Scotland. Ms Freeman was criticised this week for naming the holding centre in England in parliament. The press was asked not to divulge the name for security purposes.
The new plan also includes this paragraph: “We are therefore confident that we have a clear supply chain and that vaccine supply is part of our critical national infrastructure, but are unable to provide specific details due to limitations of this being commercially sensitive information. However, based on the information received from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) we believe there is sufficient inbound supply to support the targets set out above. The following is an outline of our expectations of delivery based on our expectations of available supply using a planning assumption on wastage of 5%.”
The charts which showed the anticipated vaccine supply have also been deleted from the new plan.
On Thursday morning the Scottish Conservatives issued a message that the Scottish Government have been forced to remove a Covid vaccination plan just hours after it was published.
The plan included sensitive details around vaccine supply that could put at risk the number of vaccine doses that can be obtained.
A UK Government source has told the Press Association that: “The reason we didn’t want to publish these figures was because everyone in the world wants these vaccines, and if other countries see how much we are getting they are likely to put pressure on the drug firms to give them some of our allocation.”
Scottish Conservative health spokesman, Donald Cameron MSP, said: “This is the second serious error by SNP ministers in the space of 24 hours.
“Yesterday, the health secretary revealed a secret location that Scottish Government officials wanted to keep confidential. Now, they’ve had to pull a whole vaccination plan out of sheer incompetence.
“These mistakes potentially endanger supplies and risk impacting the rollout of the vaccine.
“We all want the delivery of the vaccine to succeed but these entirely avoidable mistakes suggest the SNP are running about like headless chickens behind the scenes.
“We need to see a blunder-free vaccine plan from the SNP Government as soon as possible.”
Other than the changes mentioned above, the message is the same. The vaccine will be delivered here as it is ordered either by the health board or a GP’s surgery or other body such as a community pharmacy. The government is working hard to ensure that not a drop is wasted, and in fact we were advised that in some of the vials containing the vaccine, in practice there is an ‘extra dose’. There is nothing wrong with this, it is just a practical matter – and is regarded as a bonus by those running the vaccination programme.
This is the OLD vaccine plan:
This is the new vaccine deployment plan dated 14 January 2021