IF the SNP had succeeded in the 2014 referendum then Scotland would be in the same position as the rest of mainland Europe in being weeks behind the UK in approving and accessing supplies of vaccine, on the basis of wanting cheaper vaccine, not sufficient supplies to safeguard the population.

The EU machine is unwieldy, unresponsive and subject to the compromises of 27 countries. Would the SNP really want to put Scottish lives at greater risk to be independent in Europe? If the EU does restrict vaccine delivery to the UK then the SNP must change its mind on European membership and be honest with the population on the implications of a Yes vote.

I am not one to praise Boris Johnson but on the issue of vaccine purchase he has proven to be fleet of foot and the people of Scotland have benefited from that.

Bill Eadie, Giffnock.


I WAS disgusted but not surprised to see Health Secretary Matt Hancock take what sounded suspiciously like a set-up question about "Scotland's slower rate of vaccination" and turn it into a Union Jack-waving advert for unionism on the BBC's coronavirus briefing today (January 25). Though Mr Hancock did belatedly, and it seemed somewhat grudgingly, acknowledge that NHS staff in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were also working hard to deliver the vaccine, his message was clear: only by being part of the blessed Union can we can we deliver what he called the "UK vaccine" .

I believe his comments to be deeply offensive and an insult to our NHS and other staff who are working, unlike Mr Hancock, on the frontline to deliver the vaccine as quickly as possible here in Scotland. I can only conclude he thought that supporting the unionist cause was more important than the vital issues he should have been addressing.

William Gold, Glasgow G21.

*CAN it be imagined that Nicola Sturgeon would get away with bland answers to innocuous questions which are a feature of Matt Hancock's press briefings re the pandemic? No questions today (January 25), for instance, about how much is being paid for use of racecourses and whether cheaper alternative vaccination venues might be available – such questioning not even explicitly mentioning Mr Hancock's personal associations with the horse racing fraternity. Hollow press conferences indeed, that Ms Sturgeon would never be let off with.

Ian Johnstone, Peterhead.


FOR those aged 70-74 the Scottish Government appears to have implemented a rapid roll-out of the vaccinations, with a good number of my relatives and neighbours already in receipt of their promised envelope and with immunisation dates set for the first week in February. Further, in one case where the suggested immunisation centre involved considerable travel difficulties, a phone call resolved the issue that same morning.

However, confusion has been created by Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board (NHSGGC) issuing guidance that contradicts the global statement issued by the Scottish Government that all the 70-79 cohort and the vulnerable would rapidly receive a "blue" envelope with an appointment date. NHSGGC has stated that the majority (not all) of GPs in the area will be taking part in the immunisation roll-out and it is they who will be contacting the 75–79-year-olds and the vulnerable by telephone to arrange appointments ("Over-70s Scots face long trips to receive Covid jags", The Herald, January 26). If the GP is not participating the call will come from a central health board appointment service. There is no list of which practices are or are not participating, and the statement seems to imply that those aged 75–79 should not expect a letter (blue or any other colour) but will be dealt with by phone call.

I can ascribe good intentions to those at NHSGGC who thought dealing with the older half of the 75-79 cohort was a good idea, as it would offer the opportunity to resolve any timing or travel difficulties at first contact. It is self-evident that phone calls on an individual basis require significantly more staff resource and elongated timescales than computer-generated letters and scheduling. It looks as if it could be February 15 before the calls are placed, whereas a significant proportion of the letters have already been sent and appointments in the first week of February established.

Further, the uncertainty of awaiting a phone call from a source unknown on a timescale unknown creates unnecessary anxiety and establishes the environment in which scam and nuisance calls abound.

To reduce this confusion can I suggest NHSGGC sends a “blue” envelope to all the 75-79 cohort and the vulnerable indicating that they will be receiving a phone call by a given date in February together with an indication as to whether the call will be from their GP (whose phone number is easily checked) or from the NHSGGC appointment service number supplied.

Andrew Robertson, Glasgow G46.


TO deliver the vaccine to the whole population is a huge and complex administrative and logistical operation. The people involved are not politicians but are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances but their efforts are always being questioned by opposition politicians for purely political ends.

There has to be a plan for smooth delivery of the vaccine within target times. This requires stock control to ensure that supplies do not become exhausted.

Deliveries can be affected by weather and supply problems with production of the vaccine. To use all available vaccine immediately, as it appears some politicians suggest, would lead to erratic supply and cancelling of appointments.

Many people are making cases for priority but the more you have the less the priority is. It is like paying for priority boarding on a plane only to discover that all the other passengers have as well

Alexander Johnston, Inchinnan.


THE UK Government's latest too little, too late idea on quarantine for arrivals would be, if it were not so serious, a joke. This should have been done 10 months ago.

We, the UK, have the highest death rates in Europe. We have the highest infection rates in Europe at moment. We have the highest new case rates in Europe. You really wonder why anyone apart from someone needing to return home would actually come here.

I ask myself: why does it look like my son, returning from training in New Zealand which closed its borders 10 months ago with virtually nil Covid infection, and despite hopefully having a negative Covid test before leaving (yes, changing aircraft and possibly being in Dubai, which has about 66% of the infections and new cases we have, for only a couple of hours) will now not only have to go into self-isolation but possibly be forced into expensive hotel isolation.

If we bring in the new rules being discussed the countries affected by the rules should be revised to be only those with high

risks, as you could almost make a case that there is a far higher chance, sadly, my son could catch an infection here.

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.


I HATE to think of the consequences if the present-day governments of both Westminster and Holyrood had been in office in September 1939.

Of course, it may be that the generation to which my parents belonged were a bit more sensible about following instructions and regulations and obeying edicts issued from 10 Downing Street. They knew it was to win the war, and civil liberties took a back seat for years, as the alternative was being ruled by the Jackboots for probably a long time. If anyone stepped out of line, they would be arrested, probably jailed, and, in some cases, for the duration of the war.

The government of the day was a "a temporary alliance of political parties"; in other words a coalition government. It worked then, so why not now?

Jim Eddie, Dunblane.


DENTIST emeritus correspondent LB Macdonald (Letters, January 26) certainly got my attention. Whilst not of an unduly sensitive disposition, I feel I may on this occasion have benefited from an advance trigger warning (on the front page, say) ahead of the excruciatingly visceral description of his needle skills. Much less so the analgesic asterisks intended to soothe the exiting barb of his closing remark, which if I may say rather high-mindedly implied an unwarranted opinion on the professionally comparative ease of brewery management. Talk about touching a nerve.

James Macleod, Glasgow G52.

Read more: I took an oath to preserve life. But at what cost to my own?