Column: Big vaccine effort


In my column in this week’s East Lothian Courier I discuss the work that is going in to getting the vaccine out, as well as the issues of global inequality in the pandemic response:

There are many concerns about the vaccine rollout. If everyone could be given the jag tomorrow, then it would be done. But this is an unprecedented situation. The efforts being made are huge and the opening of a drive-through centre at Queen Margaret University will be significant.

I’ve no doubt there’s been some mistakes made. But the errors can be rectified and I believe a review system to address both sectors and individuals should be established. In the interim, some forbearance is needed as efforts continue.

Beware of scams that are proliferating. It’s GPs and health officials who’ll be in touch and any suggestions of quick fixes are rip-offs. Let’s also count our blessings as it’s better here than in many parts. We live as a global world, as the virus and its mutations confirm. When some nations are acquiring four times more than they need for their entire population and countries in Africa have managed just 25 vaccinations in total, it’s not just morally wrong but counterproductive. More has to be done but it has to be for all.

In Parliament, focus has been on the economy and employment. Modest reductions in income tax announced in Holyrood are to be welcomed. Money’s tight for all and it’s those with wealth and assets needing to pay more, not those just getting by. Those on lower incomes need all they can just to survive and having money to spend locally is vital for the economy.

Employment remains critical and, with the numbers out of work increasing, it’s worrying times for many. Construction is critical for getting folk into work quickly and a reduction in social house building is worrying. But there are private funds available to finance the building of homes for rent, not just those for sale. Similarly, retrofitting to upgrade homes is essential.

Jobs and homes are needed and schemes that provide them need accelerated. Preparation for the post-lockdown economy requires to start now.