The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in West Dunbartonshire is going extremely well, and is getting faster and more efficient every day.

The staff and volunteers who are organising and delivering the programme are owed huge thanks and, as leader of the council, I want to put on record my appreciation for their outstanding effort.

It’s now looking likely that everyone will have at least their first inoculation against the virus by the summer, with our most vulnerable residents fully protected with both jabs by the end of the spring.

I am also happy to confirm that our infection rate, while still very high, is coming down well, and I’m hopeful that in the next few weeks we will be back at the sort of rate we saw before being put into level 4 lockdown in December, alongside the rest of Scotland.

Thank you again to everyone in our communities who have been following the rules and protecting each other; as difficult as it is, the effort is having a positive effect and is saving lives.

If you’re struggling to cope or need help from the council, please check our website – – or call us on 01389 737000.

Help and advice for your mental wellbeing is also available at

You matter, and you are not alone.

Meanwhile, we have a Scottish Parliament election coming up in May, and across the country returning officers are already working together to make voting as safe for the public, and for election staff, as possible.

This year, for the first time in my life, I will vote by post.

That’s not because I am concerned about safety, but because this virus is unpredictable, and I cannot foretell how it might affect me.

Even if I have not contracted the virus, at any time I could get the call or the app alert to tell me that I’ve been near someone who’s tested positive and that I will have to self-isolate.

I strongly believe that whomever you vote for, the act of voting is extremely important, and the alarming scenes from the United States Capitol in January have brought to the fore just how fragile and important democracy is.

I will not risk losing my vote to circumstances that are outwith my control, and so I would urge everyone in West Dunbartonshire to sign up for a postal vote.

Just Google “West Dunbartonshire postal vote” for more information or to download the form.

You only have until Tuesday, April 6 to apply, but with record numbers of people protecting their vote, my advice is to apply as soon as possible to ensure the council’s election registration team are able to process your request in time.