SCOTTISH Labour has called on SNP ministers to diverge from advice from independent clinical experts and cut the interval in jag doses from eight to four weeks – accusing the Government of having “lost control of the pandemic”.

The party has pointed to World Health Organisation advice stating the time between doses could be cut to four weeks – but the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations (JCVI), which both the UK and Scottish governments have followed advice from throughout the pandemic, have urged that the interval should be eight weeks.

On Sunday, UK Government Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi stressed there were no plans for the interval to be cut – stressing the eight-week time gap gives better levels of immunity.

READ MORE: UK Vaccines Minister refutes claims Covid jag doses interval to be cut to four weeks

Labour has also demanded rapid improvements are made to the Test and Protect system after a surge in cases put strain on contact tracers - with more officials hired and procedures scaled back.

The appeal comes ahead of Nicola Sturgeon updating MSPs on Tuesday about the Scottish Government’s exit strategy from the pandemic.

The First Minister is expected to confirm that Scotland will move to level 0 with an end to social distancing on July 19 before ‘beyond level 0’ comes into force from August 9. But some measures, including the wearing of face masks in certain situations, are expected to remain in place for longer.

Labour’s health spokesperson, Jackie Baillie, said: “The SNP has lost control of the pandemic and our exit from lockdown hangs in the balance.

“We need immediate action that meets the scale of the crisis before us.

“That’s why Scottish Labour is calling for the time between vaccine doses to be cut to four weeks, in line with the WHO’s advice, to speed up the vaccine roll-out.”

She added: “We are also calling on the government to get a grip of our failing Test and Protect system and instead of cutting corners and lowering standards, do all that they can to support the staff in their efforts.

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“We also need to see leadership on long Covid if we are to avoid another health and economic crisis after the pandemic has passed.

“Make no mistake, any delay to the easing of the restrictions will be the result of SNP inaction and failure.

“We are at a crucial moment in the pandemic - it’s about time we showed the urgency and ambition that we need.”