Plea for north to get fair share of Covid vaccine
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THE far north should get its fair share of the coronavirus vaccine which could be available by the end of the year.
That is the plea which was made by Caithness, Sutherland and easter Ross MP, Jamie Stone, when he spoke virtually in the House of Commons after the announcement that the vaccine – developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech – showed it could prevent around 90 per cent of people from getting Covid-19. The vaccine is one of 11 in the final stages of testing.
The companies hope to gain emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of November with a limited number of people receiving it this year, although it is likely to be next year before it would be widely used.
Mr Stone wants to ensure the government has a strategy that prioritises the most vulnerable and pointed out his constituency has many elderly people.
He said: "The announcement that we may now have a vaccine that will help protect us from Covid is incredibly welcome. Many millions of people have great good cause to be grateful to the scientists all over the world who are working so hard to beat this deadly virus."
The Liberal Democrat MP added: "Mindful that my vast and remote constituency has many elderly people who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, I deliberately raised the issue of the rollout of the vaccine to people living in the remotest parts of the UK, including my constituency.
"I was therefore pleased that the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that the rollout would be based on getting the vaccine to those who need it most. For this reason, I shall be watching very closely over the next few weeks to be quite sure in my own mind that the neediest people in my constituency are getting the protection that they desperately need.
"Having had this potentially good news, I think that all of us would hope and pray that this doesn’t become another U-turn in the fight against the virus."
The announcement about the vaccine has also been welcomed by Caithness Health Action Team chairman, Bill Fernie, who said it was "good news".