GAVIN Tait (Letters, January 6) says that guilt felt by Nicola Sturgeon over care home deaths has resulted in priority vaccination for those resident therein, thereby depriving young people of a proper education which will affect their whole life chances and their possible achievements of 30 to 40 years of productive life. Mr Tait then appears to suggest the education of our young people is more valuable than another five to 10 years of life for the elderly – something of a non sequitur and straight out of the Huxley book of thinking.

The education of our secondary school young people during the pandemic requires some creative and radical thinking both short and long term, especially as jobs may well be in short supply during the recovery period. If properly resourced, there is no reason why those leaving secondary school cannot have a formal extension of one or two years to continue their lost education and take their exams in further education colleges. This would require strategic organisation involving all sectors of education and I believe this would be a better solution than to allow our elderly, in which I have a vested interest, to wither away.

It is clear Mr Tait does not care for Nicola Sturgeon or her regular media updates, for which there is an off switch as an immediate cure. Many of those living alone and perhaps infirm and unable to get out will depend and look forward to up-to-date information delivered with a clarity unmatched elsewhere. To describe the general NHS as effectively destroyed and the Scottish Government “trapped in a failure whirlpool of its own making” is beyond the description of hyperbole.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.


GAVIN Tait favours vaccinating teachers who fear catching the disease from children “although the risk is very small". He echoes what seems to be accepted generally and without question that for some reason children are at low risk of virus infection and of passing it on. If that is the case, do children have some inherent immunity, which presumably diminishes as they grow up, which should be researched, identified, isolated and passed over to adults as an alternative or additional treatment to vaccination?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.


THE Covid vaccination programme is probably the most vital and important public health exercise in modern history. Notwithstanding, given comments made be either Nicola Sturgeon or Jeane Freeman over the last 72 hours, I have heard or read at least six different versions of their expected Covid vaccination timetable in terms of who will be vaccinated and by when. This is a disgrace. Once again, like the flu jab fiasco, John Swinney’s education mess-up last year and other examples too many to mention here, this indicates this SNP administration's complete inability to manage anything effectively or efficiently.

Since March last year, Ms Sturgeon has managed to find ample resources to both compile and produce her daily political broadcast – sorry, Covid update – so why can she now not find resources to deliver a daily update on vaccination progress against a clearly articulated timetable? This is what we want to hear from her, not her ongoing, daily, repetitive political jibes, nor her monotonous and very divisive independence monologue.

Paul McPhail, Glasgow G43.


I WAS more than pleased when my 80-year-old brother contacted me yesterday to advise that he had just received his first Covid vaccination. He lives in Essex, where NHS England has commenced the roll-out of a major vaccination programme which is intended to immunise the entire top four priority groups by mid-February; this includes all the over-seventies, NHS workers, care home staff and care home residents in addition to people with underlying health problems, amounting to more than 13 million people. This is an exceptionally ambitious target, but one which the Prime Minister is confident of achieving.

Under the circumstances it is not unreasonable to expect that here in Scotland we can achieve similar success with a vaccination roll-out that includes the most vulnerable groups over a similar time frame. Should the Scottish Government fail to deliver a successful vaccination programme, at speed, and without similar problems to those experienced with last year’s flu vaccine debacle, then it will never be forgiven by the Scottish public.

Christopher H Jones, Giffnock.


I READ with real concern in your front-page report today ("‘Real risk’ of wasted vaccines after U-turn on second doses”, The Herald, December 6) that a number of health care staff in Glasgow yesterday (December 5) had been unable to get their Covid-19 vaccine as had been originally scheduled.

Undoubtedly such a mass immunisation programme requires a considerable amount of planning and effort, including recruitment of vaccinators. I have been practising as a GP for 25 years and I first offered to be a vaccinator as part of the hospital/community hub vaccination programme on December 2. I received an email on December 24 inviting me to complete the online training, which I did – this taking me six hours, but which unlike as has been reported to be the case in England, did not include compulsory modules in de-radicalisation or equality and diversity. On December 30 I submitted my completed application and currently await to find out if my skills can be useful to the vaccination effort. Cases of Covid-19 continue to rise, but at this point I’m not too sure that the vaccine is outrunning the virus.

Dr Alan Mitchell, Motherwell.


NICOLA Sturgeon has stated that no one would be receiving a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and a possible second dose with the Oxford vaccine (or vice versa) ("All over-50s will get first Covid vaccine dose ‘by start of May’", The Herald, January 5). Surely no one in the health boards had even considered that scenario? I am also at a loss as to how they can suddenly change the period gap between jags, from 21 days to 12 weeks, without any check on the effect of same.

There have already been some doubts on the suitability of the existing vaccines for keeping the Covid variant at bay, let alone the now additional one appearing on the scene, so why mess with the initial vaccine programme?

George Dale, Beith.


WHEN you are into “extra-time” in the game of life as I am, lockdown is a disaster. I know that if I catch Covid-19 the chances are it will kill me. Like many old fogies I’ve been in what is essentially self-imposed lockdown for the best part of a year and as of now even that regime will be ramped up. Gone completely will be the already-infrequent outdoor visits to kids and grandkids, even a daily walk which is already compromised by being compelled to walk on the road to avoid groups of adolescents who ignore social distancing or ignorant berks who feel it more important that their dog-on-a-string walks on the pavement than a pensioner, will be threatened. Heaven forfend one runs out of milk; the risk of premature death has to be balanced against having a decent cup of tea.

Just how badly managed the response to the pandemic has been is encapsulated by the fact that almost a year into things only now are they considering closing the door to the country. For heaven’s sake we live on an island, it should have been the first thing they did. How is it possible that groups were shuttling back and forwards to European ski resorts recently? Air-bridges; pathetic. Now we have a virus variant that got here from South Africa on a plane and another highly contagious mutant domestic form of Covid-19 that appeared in the heavily-populated south-east of England, its development and transmission facilitated by Government policy of trying to keep life as near normal as possible to protect the economy rather than the population.

Less than a year into the pandemic the UK seasonally adjusted level of deaths is nearer 100,000 than the official Covid-19 statistics, mainly elderly poor or BAME casualties. The economy has tanked with personal debt escalating along with rising unemployment and rent arrears, but at least the rich are getting richer.

I suppose depending on where you stand Government policy could be deemed to be right on target.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.


I ENJOYED reading my mother's letter (Sue Wade, "Take back control of care homes", January 5), agree with its content and admire her idealism. However, 2021 is a Scottish election year and the First Minister's career is reliant on the SNP fulfilling poll predictions. Away from the cameras not a second thought will realistically be given to overhauling the care sector.

Laurence Wade, Ayr.

Read more: Letters: Government has the vaccine priorities all wrong