Sunday, 11 Apr 2021

‘Yet another blow for care homes!’ Nicola Sturgeon shamed over Covid vaccination plan

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The Scottish Tory MSP grilled the First Minister over the impossibility of care home residents to travel to vaccination hubs to get their anti-Covid jabs – something Nicola Sturgeon has admitted might have to be organised. The Pfizer vaccine approved by UK regulators this week must be stored at -70C, but most care homes will not have the facilities to accommodate this requirement. 

Ruth Davidson blasted: “The way in which this vaccine is stored and transported means that it will be extremely difficult to bring it to individual care homes – a point acknowledged by the Health Secretary this morning and the First Minister just a moment ago.

“But the head of Scottish Care is warning that many care home residents are too frail or vulnerable to be transported to the hubs where the vaccines are.

“Care home residents and their families have suffered enough through this pandemic and the possibility that a promised vaccine could now be delayed is yet another blow.

“So what now is the plan for Scottish care home residents who were promised they would be the first in the queue to receive this vaccine?”

The SNP leader replied: “I think it’s really important to understand the issues here and I heard the Prime Minister talk about exactly what I’m going to talk about.

“This is not something that is in any way unique to Scotland. This is about the particular characteristics of the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine.

“She’s right to point out this is about the ultra-low temperature it has to be stored at.

“This is something for all four nations.”

She added: “We will use vaccines as soon as they become available as closely as possible in line with the order of prioritisation set out.

“If for the first period it is difficult to get vaccines to care homes, obviously we will use these supplies for NHS and staff who work in care homes.”

News of vaccinations beginning in Scotland next week should spur Scots to stick to the current restrictions, Nicola Sturgeon said.

Speaking ahead of First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, she said the prospect of returning to normality in the coming months should be an “incentive” for following current rules.

She said: “The prospect of vaccination, and with it a return to something more like normality, should also give us a further incentive in the weeks ahead to keep ourselves and loved ones safe.

“As ever, all of us can play our part by sticking to the current rules and guidelines.”

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She also announced that all evictions will be banned until the end of January under new Scottish Government regulations.

Legislation passed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic meant that eviction notices issued due to Covid-19 could not be actioned during the pandemic.

However, no such curbs were in place for the actioning of notices issued before the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon said new regulations would be proposed by the Scottish Government to end the enforcement of notices between December 11 and January 22.

The First Minister said that anti social or criminal behaviour and cases of domestic abuse will be exempt from the regulations.

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