THE Scottish Government is considering round-the-clock coronavirus vaccinations with Nicola Sturgeon saying ministers are not ruling anything out in the race to inoculate the country.

The First Minister’s comments came amid a brewing row south of the Border, after Number 10 claimed there was no “clamour” for vaccinations after 8pm.

Asked during the daily Covid briefing if Scotland could run vaccination clinics round the clock, the First Minister said: “Once we get into the general population, yes, if that is going to help us get through them faster we will look at that.”

She stressed the Government would need to be satisfied a large enough workforce was available to do this. The First Minister added: “At the moment, because of the relatively limited nature of supplies – although that is growing all the time – and the population groups, we have been focusing on care homes.

“But once we get into the younger age groups I think the ways in which, the times at which, the settings in which we vaccinate people will become potentially much more flexible. I don’t rule anything out. We want to get through this programme as quickly as possible, we want everybody in the adult population to have this vaccine as quickly as possible.”

Sturgeon added: “We want to get this vaccination programme completed as quickly as possible, it is not in the Government’s interests to slow this down, it is in our interests to get it speeded up as far as practical. The sooner we get the whole population vaccinated the sooner we get back to a greater degree of normality and can start to put this virus behind us.”

National clinical director professor Jason Leitch said the vaccination programme was “going better than I expected”. Figures published yesterday showed 175,942 people in Scotland have received the first dose of the Covid vaccine so far – an increase of 12,565 in 24 hours. Leitch said work on this was progressing “really quite smoothly”, adding: “The fact we have been able to vaccinate 80% of our care home residents in four weeks is astonishing.”

And he said that vaccination numbers would “speed up” now it has been rolled out to GP practices, with the focus now on getting the injection to over-80s living at home.

However, GPs have been warned to expect a “couple more weeks of frustration” because of problems with vaccine supply. An email sent to all doctors in Edinburgh – seen by The i newspaper – said supply was not expected to become reliable until January 25. It also said mass vaccination centres were not expected to be operational until February 15 due to a possible delay in the creation of a national booking system. The email, sent on January 8 by the primary care support team at NHS Lothian, confirms the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) will be the main venue in the capital for mass vaccinations.

Meanwhile, the First Minister is due in Parliament today to set out whether further restrictions are needed. It is widely expected there could be curbs on takeaway food and click and collect services.

Scotland recorded 54 deaths from coronavirus and 1875 positive tests on Monday, bringing the death toll under this measure to 5023. The daily test positivity rate was 12%, up from 11.5% the previous day.

Of the new cases, 607 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 280 in Lanarkshire, 214 in Lothian, and 162 in Ayrshire and Arran. There were 1717 people in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up 53. Of these patients, 133 were in intensive care, an increase of seven.

NHS Lanarkshire is to temporarily postpone all non-urgent elective surgeries and a range of outpatient appointments from today, as the health board said it only had 46 free beds. Urgent cancer treatments will continue and all three acute sites will operate an emergency service for theatres and diagnostics.