BORIS Johnson has claimed that there would not be a Covid vaccine available in Scotland if it were up to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

The Guardian reported that the Prime Minister made the comment at a virtual meeting of the 1922 committee of backbench Tory MPs on Tuesday evening before Wednesday’s Commons vote on the third national lockdown in England.

Johnson is said to have answered various questions from MPs on the Zoom call, including one from a Scottish Tory MP about the SNP and he criticised the party in his answer.

The Prime Minister is understood to have said that the strength of the union lay in what could be done for people across the UK, claiming that if it was up to the SNP there would not have been a single coronavirus vaccine delivered in Scotland.

One MP in the virtual meeting said: “Essentially, the point the Prime Minister was making is that the UK is a major country, we’ve got sufficient clout to get the vaccines rolled out. He did actually mention that we were ahead of the rest of Europe.

“He said if it were up to the SNP then there wouldn’t have been a single vaccine delivered in Scotland. It was a UK effort, in other words and needed the clout of a big government.”

Asked about Johnson’s comments on Wednesday, the prime minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton, said she had not been present at the 1922 meeting. But she said: “In terms of the broader point about the vaccine, there’s no doubt that the union’s been critical in the development, production and administration of the vaccine, and indeed across a range of measures, the UK governments during this pandemic, we have all worked together to provide for the British people.

“I think on Monday Nicola Sturgeon said they have 100,000 vaccines in Scotland. It’s great news for the Scottish people but it’s been a collective effort.”

READ MORE: SNP blast PM's 'crass and inaccurate' claim Nicola Sturgeon would not provide vaccine

On Sunday, Johnson suggested there should not be another referendum on Scottish independence until 2055.

"Referendums in my experience, in my direct experience in this country, are not particularly jolly events. They don't have a notably unifying force in the national mood and they should be only once in a generation," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson rules out indyref2 until 2055 saying referendums are 'not jolly'

The UK has secured access to 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, enough for most of the population.

Scotland will get a proportionate 8.2% of the jabs.

READ MORE: Scottish Government aims to vaccinate all over-50s in Scotland by early May

The Scottish Government said its priority is to vaccinate as many people with their first dose as quickly as possible, with the second dose to be given within 12 weeks.

The order in which people will received the vaccine is determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

It will be given first to care home residents and their carers, people over the age of 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

The programme will then be rolled out to the rest of the population, starting with people aged 75 to 79, followed next by those aged 70-74 and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Seeing the Astrazeneca vaccine being administered to people in the community aged over 80 is a good way to start the New Year and I’m grateful to everyone in NHS Tayside and boards across the country for their work in preparing for the delivery of this newest vaccine.

“Oxford AstraZeneca has the advantage of being much easier to store and transport, which means it is easier to administer in local settings. We are also expecting to receive it in significantly larger quantities than the Pfizer vaccine.

“When it is your turn to be vaccinated you will be contacted by your local health board and I urge you to please take up the offer.”

On Monday Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that doses of the vaccine will not be mixed in Scotland after her lockdown announcement in Holyrood.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon confirms Covid vaccine doses won't be mixed in Scotland

Addressing MSPs, the First Minister said mixing the Pfizer-BioNTech the Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs is “not our policy in Scotland" unless there are "exceptional circumstances such as we don’t know what vaccine was given in the first dose".

Both vaccines require two doses which are now to be administered 12 weeks apart.

Confusion around the vaccine roll-out mounted at the weekend after Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at Public Health England, said that people should receive a second dose of the same vaccine.

She said: “We do not recommend mixing the Covid-19 vaccines – if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine, you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa.”

Medical professionals have also questioned the scientific reason for mixing injections. Allyson Pollock, co-director of Newcastle University Centre of Excellence in Regulatory Sciences and a former member of Independent Sage, said: “We need to see the data and basis for this decision.”

John Moore, vaccine expert at Cornell University in America, added there is “no data on this idea whatsoever” and claimed the UK “seem to have abandoned science completely now and are just trying to guess their way out of a mess”.