AN "offer" is not a "vaccination". An "allocation" is not a "delivery". Why should we care?

Seven weeks ago, the UK Government embarked on a propaganda campaign of semantics – probably to distract us from the fact that England now has one of the highest Covid death rates in the world. Such a morale-boosting exercise might be justified, but not dishonesty.

Staff and residents in English care homes may have been "offered" vaccines, but a great number – kept from us – have not actually been vaccinated. Vaccines have not been delivered to them.

It makes me feel angry that the same word games have been used to accuse and demoralise Scotland's NHS – to frighten Scotland into believing that our NHS is not capable of organising vaccinations. It seems as if we are being driven to forget that our NHS and the Scottish Government have worked together to save lives, despite an open border with the highest death rate in the world.

Play around with words like "allocate" and "offer" and you can also hide that you are controlling access to vaccines – trying to shift blame. "Allocated" vaccines, as we have now discovered, are still being held in warehouses in England

These same politicians responsible are also hoarding vaccines – boasting that they grabbed them all before anyone else. They have just goaded the EU into a "vaccine war" and are now smirking at the panic they caused. While they have been looking the other way, obsessed with this vaccine propaganda, their failure with lockdown and testing has allowed the Kent and South African mutations of Covid to spread – making it harder for vaccines to catch up.

International bodies like WHO and the UN keep trying to warn the UK Government that until the whole world is vaccinated, no-one is safe. But it does not listen: its priority seems to be propaganda in the name of political survival. These politicians still chant "world-beating" . They don't seem to realise that, on their present course, they are indeed "beating the world" – confounding all valiant international efforts to make vaccines work the only way they can: by protecting everyone.

Norway is donating vaccines to poorer countries; in contrast, UK behaviour, mired in hoarding and propaganda wars, seems, to me a world-beating, wicked and lethal disgrace.

Frances McKie, Evanton.


THE First Minister has once again pulled off a masterly piece of distraction. Today's news was the anticipated toughening of quarantine regulations for overseas arrivals, making Scotland’s rules more comprehensive than England’s and showing the First Minister to be tougher than Boris Johnson ("FM: Scotland to impose tougher quarantine rules than rest of UK", The Herald, February 3). With this in mind I checked the arrivals at Glasgow Airport. There was one flight from Heathrow and all other arrivals were internal flights from Scotland. In essence there were no overseas arrivals, so what is the purpose of this much talked-about news story? Presumably to distract from other less palatable headlines.

Throughout this pandemic the First Minister has had to appear to be better than Mr Johnson and in this she has succeeded admirably, aided and abetted largely by Mr Johnson himself.

But Mr Johnson has managed to do two things well. One was procurement of an adequate vaccine supply and the other is the successful roll-out of this vaccine to the population. The Scottish Government, however, has not managed to roll out vaccination of the population as efficiently. The First Minister explains that this is because Scotland chose to prioritise care homes and this is, by necessity, a slower process. This argument cries out to be challenged.

The rate-limiting steps in any vaccination programme are vaccine supply and the logistics of administration. The first is clearly outwith the control of the Scottish Government, but the latter is most definitely not. There is no reason why vaccination in care homes and in the wider population cannot proceed simultaneously other than because of a lack of resource. As a recently retired healthcare professional I would be more than happy to volunteer to administer Covid vaccines, to ensure as many people in the population can be protected as quickly as possible but no one has asked. Unless the Scottish Government embraces a more flexible approach to this vaccination it will continue to lag behind the rest of the UK. A vaccine sitting in a freezer is no good to anyone.

Paul Teenan, Consultant Surgeon, Glasgow G41.


ON the day you publish the obituary of war veteran and fundraiser extraordinaire Captain Tom Moore, it’s sad to read the letter (February 3) from Kenneth Campbell, in which he laments having to wait eight more days than his wife for his vaccination, and at a centre five miles more distant.

The challenges of vaccinating so many people in such a short period, and with minimal time to prepare for distribution and final delivery, must be immense. There will no doubt be different strategies available, and they will have different outcomes. However, all will produce anomalies, outliers who don’t fit neatly into a particular category and who may be vaccinated a little earlier or later than the broad plan suggests.

Unlike so many of your correspondents, I’m not an expert in epidemiology or logistics. I trust NHS Scotland to deliver the vaccination programme as efficiently as it can and accept that there will be errors and omissions along the way; there will be in every complex endeavour. I also accept there will be some regional and local variations.

From what I’ve read and heard, the vaccination programme appears to be going well, and I congratulate those who devised it and those who are delivering it. Not wishing to add insult to injury, but my wife and I have received our blue letters, offering vaccination on February 10, and we’re some years younger than Mr Campbell.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


WRITING to the First Minister, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack talks of “the most important peacetime endeavour this country has ever undertaken” ("Jack offers UK Government help to Holyrood over ‘stuttering’ vaccine rollout", The Herald, February 3).

Perhaps Mr Jack and his colleagues in Westminster should understand that we are, in fact, at war, with the death toll, for example, now twice that of those killed in The Blitz.

Had we had a true wartime leader prepared to take unpopular decisions like closing down all but essential foreign travel last year we might be better off now. Sadly, we had Boris Johnson.

Stuart Neville, Clydebank.


EVERY day I read about different strains of the Covid virus being named after their origin, such as the Brazil version, the South Africa variety, the London/Kent. So why was there so much international indignation and outrage when former President Trump called Covid the China Virus?

Mr Trump got hammered for using the term but was he so wrong? China, after all, has form in this regard as both bird flu and Sars originated there. Why shouldn't China compensate the rest of the world in some way for the pandemic?

James Miller, Glasgow G12.


I CAN say without fear of contradiction that this is my first letter to The Herald ever where I give my full and unconditional support to our First Minister.

Of course schools must open as a priority and if I have any criticism of the decision to (all things being equal) open nurseries and primaries to P3 level mid-February, then it's because it does not go far enough ("Sturgeon accused of rushing to re-open schools", The Herald, February 3). As usual we get the usual bleatings from the teachers' unions and activists who are shown once again to be so out of step with the majority of their members. These union leaders should be ashamed of their public utterances ever since this dreadful pandemic made itself felt almost a year ago, for compared to the attitude of our NHS, police and emergency services, HGV drivers, supermarket workers and many more, they have been found wanting. One hopes that when these officials come up for re-election their members hold them to account for the reputational damage they have presided over at a time when the nation as a whole needed everyone to contribute for the common good.

Hopefully come the next review of where we are with Covid, conditions will dictate that the limited school openings described by Ms Sturgeon will be able to proceed and further announcements will quickly follow to get the rest of our children back to their classrooms.

This is crucial for the educational and mental wellbeing of all our young people, not forgetting their parents juggling jobs, home schooling and child minding, many under very trying circumstances.

James Martin, Bearsden.

Read more: There is no excuse for us being in this Covid mess