The National:


“Douglas Ross hailed the UK vaccine rollout as an ‘incredible success story’ as figures suggested an independent Scotland would have had 1.5 million fewer jabs by now” – Scottish Daily Express headline, 1 April.


Trapped inside the UK, Scotland has seen a Covid-19 death toll far greater than European neighbours such as Ireland and Norway. The Tories are using the big vaccine roll-out as a way to hide the huge Covid death rate resulting from the bungles of the Johnson government. Besides, Scotland has its own vaccine manufacturing capacity and is producing its own Valneva jag.


As part of their election strategy, on 1 April the Scottish Conservatives issued a claim that “analysis of vaccine rates” proved Scotland “could have had 1.5 million fewer vaccines” if it was not part of the UK anti-covid scheme. This line was picked up by the Scottish Daily Express and run as a front page splash. However, the Express story was not available on its website.

The basis of the Conservative claim appears to be a comparison between the existing Scottish vaccination rate and the average jag rate in the EU. The ostensible argument being that an independent Scotland inside the EU would have access to far fewer units of anti-covid antidotes and so record a much lower rate of coverage - to the extent of 1.5m fewer vaccinations. Therefore, Scottish membership of the United Kingdom has been a benefit in medical terms. How credible is this claim?


By the end of February, the EU Commission and individual member states had contracted to purchase some 2.6bn anti-covid vaccination doses of all kinds. This works out at 5.9 does per person. However, a problem lies in the slow delivery date of these doses and in the erratic regulation regime that has seen use of AstraZeneca vaccine turned off and on as a result of fears over blood clots.

In the UK, by February the UK Government had contracted for around 400 million doses of various, including over 60m doses of the Valneva jab, which is being manufactured in Scotland. That comes to 5.9 does per person, which is exactly the same ratio as for the EU.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross claims Scotland can thank the UK for Covid vaccine roll-out success

There is no doubt that the UK was faster off the mark both in ordering vaccines and in inoculating the population. From that respect it is difficult to fault the argument that an indy Scotland inside the EU might currently be seeing a lower vaccination rate. As of 31 March, some 2,463,069 people in Scotland had received their first anti-covid dose while a further 354,756 had been given their second jag.

However, we must note that the UK Government issues doses to the UK nations and that as of 1 April, the total number of jags allocated to Scotland stood at 3,744,260 (for a population of 5,463,300). That works out at 0.7 does per person. While it is not expected the UK Government would short-change Scotland, the allocation of doses is not in the hands of the Scottish authorities. To that extent, Scotland is a dependent nation.


Suppose we hypothesise an independent Scottish Government buying 60m doses of the locally manufactured Valneva jab. That works out at nearly 11 doses per citizen. Astonishingly, that is nearly double the 5.9 per capita number of vaccines of all kinds contracted in both the UK and EU. Potentially, therefore, an indy Scotland could have beaten both the UK and EU in vaccinating its population.

The Valneva vaccine is manufactured in Livingston by a French company and we need to note that it is still under trial – though it will be in use this year. The point of this example is that an independent Scotland would not be dependent on either the EU or UK for vaccinating its own population.

As an advanced industrial nation, with a major pharmaceutical infrastructure, Scotland is perfectly capable of vaccinating and protecting its own population. Indeed, an independent Scotland would be able to offer doses of the Valneva vaccine to other nations. Scotland does not need the Union to protect its own citizens or aid the rest of humankind.


Douglas Ross is quick to praise the Tory Government in vaccinations, but he carefully neglects to mention the desperately high death rate in the UK from Covid-19 as a result of the early blunders of the Boris Johnson administration.

The pandemic death rates in the smaller European countries are in stark contrast to those in a Scotland trapped inside the UK. As of 1 April, the death rates in Europe’s small nations are as follows: Denmark (2419), Finland (844), Ireland (4687), and Norway (663). Sadly, in Scotland as of 1 April, the covid death total was 7602.


The National: National Fact Check False 

Douglas Ross concedes another own goal.