Attacking the SNP for failing to reach its target of one million vaccinations by the end of the month, Mr Neil hit out at the SNP for initially criticising the UK Government for excluding itself from the EU’s vaccine procurement plan. As of February 2, the SNP reported they had completed 610,778 vaccinations. In contrast, there have been 8,362,868 in England. Highlighting the failure of the SNP in contrast to England, Mr Neil quipped the party may want to revise its comments regarding the UK’s vaccine strategy.
In a brutal put-down, he said: “As of yesterday there had been 611,000 vaccinations in Scotland, not quite the 1m by end of January promised by local health minister Jeanne Freeman.
“The SNP was furious when UK refused to join EU vaccine procurement.
“Perhaps it’s still keen to emulate EU roll out pace.”
One user was quick to attack the former BBC man for attempting to stir up criticism.
He said: “So this will be your MO going forward? Sh*t stirring as opposed to documenting the hows and whys as a journalist?”
In response, Mr Neil said: “You can’t handle the truth, can you?”
Not only has Scotland’s vaccine rollout struggled but on January 31, just 9,628 vaccinations were recorded – the lowest daily number reported.
Last year, the UK made the decision not to join the EU’s procurement strategy for vaccinations.
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This has allowed the UK to be more agile in signing vaccine deals and allows Westminster to determine its own vaccination programme.
Although EU member states had the ability to opt-out, states eventually allowed the Commission to take the lead in buying vaccines, resulting in the current fiasco on the continent.
At the time of the UK Government’s decision, the SNP’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Dr Philippa Whitford, said: “At a time when the UK should be accelerating efforts to work with our EU partners towards finding a vaccine, it is concerning that the UK government has instead rejected the opportunity to take part in yet another EU-wide programme.
“The UK government’s short-sighted and increasingly isolationist approach does nothing but hinder the ability to tackle the virus effectively.
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“It is not clear which potential vaccines may ultimately prove most successful.
“Therefore, the UK government must put public health ahead of Brexiteer ideology and step up efforts to engage with international partners to ensure that we are fully prepared around securing potential vaccines.
“The coronavirus does not see or respect borders, so it is crucial that the fight against the virus is a global effort and that the UK government takes all necessary steps to protect public health.”
As of February 2, across the UK 14.94 people per 100 had received a vaccine.
According to the statistics from Our World in Data, Germany was registering 3.09 per 100 as of February 2 while France was reporting 2.47.
Such is the rapid vaccine rollout in the UK, there is hope the Government may begin to ease lockdown restrictions in the next month.