NICOLA Sturgeon is set to defy UK Government demands and share details of the number of Covid vaccines available to use in Scotland.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government was forced to withdraw their vaccine deployment plan because it included the figures for weekly supplies from the manufacturers Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Moderna.

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The Department of Health said the information was commercially confidential, and could lead to firms coming under pressure from other countries.

However, much to the frustration of Scottish ministers, the UK Government has repeatedly shared details of supplies. 

During Thursday’s First Minister’s Questions, the SNP chief told MSPs she had taken the decision to make the numbers public because the UK Government had seemingly been “quite happy to brief these figures through spin to the media”.

She said: “I've said to my officials, actually, regardless of what they say, I think we will just go back to publishing the actual supply figures from next week so that we all have transparency around that.”

The First Minister was responding to criticism from Ruth Davidson about the speed of the the vaccination programme.

Sturgeon told her the Government had now “effectively completed the vaccination of older residents in care homes.”

She added: “Now we are on track to not just meet but, I would hope, exceed our targets for the other cohorts that we are now vaccinating. Around half a million people have been vaccinated already in total.”

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Sturgeon said ministers currently anticipate all over 80s to have been vaccinated with the first dose by the beginning of next week.

However, the Scottish Tory Holyrood leader said prioritising care homes was “not an excuse for the slower rollout across the general population”. 

Davidson said the problem with the system was that GPs were unable to order supplies of the vaccine quickly enough. 

While the Scottish Government can call up deliveries overnight from the distribution centres, GPs surgeries were only getting weekly orders. 

She told MSPs that one GP had told them they could vaccinate about 500 patients a day, if they had access to supplies. 

Davidson added: “Earlier this week, a family doctor in Glasgow was blunt, the bottleneck is not people, it is vaccine supply. So let's look at the supply chain, since Tuesday, the Scottish Government has had around 1 million vaccines available for use. 

“It is up to NHS Scotland to get them to health boards. At this stage and I quote from the SNP's own delivery plan here, ‘next day delivery’ can be done to health boards, but getting the vaccines from the health boards vaccine holding centres to GPs ‘normally happens, weekly’.

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“We're six weeks into the vaccine delivery plan. We're three weeks into the community rollout and throughout that time GP after GP has been expressing their frustration at supply issues, all of which the First Minister continues to brush off. They just want it sorted out. When will she do it?”

Sturgeon replied: “I'm not brushing, any of these concerns off, I'm answering in detail around what is happening and I think Ruth Davidson might have more of a point here, if we were way off meeting the targets to get through all of these population groups, but we're not.

“If anything, we are on track to exceed those targets in terms of the vaccine quantity and the numbers that we are vaccinating in each category.” 

Sturgeon said that “way more than half” of all the doses in Scotland “are already in the arms of people, and the others will be going into the arms of people over the course of the coming days.”

She said the Government had to plan on how to use the allocation “to allow us to vaccinate all of the groups that we have prioritised within the timescales that we have set.”

Sturgeon added: “I know everybody across the country, all of us without exception almost, wants to get this vaccine as quickly as possible, and I know GPs and other vaccinators want to do it as quickly as possible, but we are on track, in terms of the targets we’ve set, and we will continue to make sure that that continues as we get this vaccine to as many people in the adult population, as we can, just as quickly as we can.”