The vaccine roll-out programme is what is giving us hope right now as we continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

It is our best weapon in defeating this virus, and can help us to rebuild our communities across West Dunbartonshire as quickly as possible.

However, while rates of the vaccines that have been put into people’s arms are above the Scotland-wide average in West Dunbartonshire, I do remain concerned about the pace that it is currently being rolled out at.

Over the last few weeks, I have had many constituents raise concerns with that they have heard nothing about when they are set to get the vaccine.

And as a whole, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s vaccination rate is below the average for Scotland.

I would make it clear that I applaud everyone who is involved in the vaccination programme and especially those who are taking up the offer of a vaccine up as soon as they receive notification.

However, the SNP need to up their game and get the hundreds of thousands of doses they have at their disposal into the hands of GPs across the country who are crying out for supplies.

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We simply cannot have situations in the coming weeks where GPs in Dumbarton and the Vale are having to cancel appointments due to a lack of urgency from those in charge in the SNP government.

We heard at First Minister’s Questions from Nicola Sturgeon that a target to vaccinate everyone aged over 80 in Scotland by the end of January has indeed been put back to the end of the first week in February.

She says that the target has not slipped, it has merely been refined.

Those over 80s and their relatives here in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven won’t be impressed with that defensiveness.

They just want transparency about when vaccine targets will be hit.

The concerns coming from our GPs should be urgently heeded by the government.

As we ask people, 10 months into this pandemic, to once again stay at home to prevent the spread of the disease, and its new variants, the vaccine roll-out is a race we simply must win – here in Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven, and also across Scotland.

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