First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she plans to write to the Prime Minister urging him to better support developing countries to obtain vaccine doses.
The decision comes after the People’s Vaccine Alliance – a campaign group whose members in Scotland include Oxfam Scotland, Global Justice Now Scotland and Christian Aid Scotland – urged the First Minister to intervene.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford has already urged the Prime Minister to waive – at least temporarily – the intellectual property rights to vaccine patents.
Addressing MSPs on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said: “I certainly call on the Prime Minister to take whatever action he can to ensure that we get vaccines equitably to the population of the world as quickly as possible.
“I also take very seriously the responsibility on the shoulders of my government to make sure we’re doing everything possible.
“Covid is a global crisis – it’s very understandable that we focus on the implications for ourselves in our own countries but it is an unprecedented global crisis.”
She added: “It is fundamentally the case, as Omicron is reminding us, that until every across the world is safe, none of us is truly safe, so we are very keen to explore further routes that support equitable access to vaccines.
“I will write to the Prime Minister on this to encourage him to take whatever action is necessary, but also to offer the full cooperation of the Scottish Government in doing so.”
Jamie Livingstone, the head of Oxfam Scotland, described the First Minister’s statement as a “vital intervention”.
Meanwhile, the First Minister also described people who refused to get jabbed as “selfish”.
During the same session in Holyrood, the First Minister said: “If you are eligible and able to be vaccinated right now and you are choosing not to be vaccinated then you’re being deeply irresponsible – I would say you’re being selfish.
“You’re putting your own life much more at risk and you’re putting the life of everyone you come into contact with at risk.”
Scotland has fully vaccinated 88.6% of its population, although it is unclear how many of the people who have not yet been double-jabbed are medically unable to do so.
Ms Sturgeon’s statement comes just hours after one of her top clinical advisers said the best way to ensure vaccine uptake was to persuade those who were hesitant.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, national clinical director Professor Jason Leitch said: “The way to get through to younger people and older people who need to come for their boosters is to persuade them, not to condemn them or suggest they’re causing the outbreaks.
“That doesn’t work – what works is giving people the right information at the right time.”
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