The Covid-19 vaccination programme has made excellent progress in vaccinating a large majority of the adult population in Scotland.
By 17 September, more than 90 per cent of people aged 18 or over had received at least one Covid-19 vaccine. Levels of vaccine wastage have been low, and the programme has helped reduce the number of people getting severely ill and dying.
However, uptake has been lower amongst young people, those in the most deprived areas and those from some ethnic minority backgrounds. The vaccine rollout has also relied on a temporary staff drawn from across the NHS. This is an expensive model and the Scottish Government recognises that it needs a longer-term solution.
NHS boards and health and social care partnerships currently expect vaccine delivery costs to be around £223 million in 2021/22. But the final cost for this year will depend on clinical advice issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, so it could differ substantially from the current estimate.
Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland, said:
The delivery of the vaccination programme has been a success so far, with good collaboration and new digital tools developed to help the process.
Early scenario planning by the Scottish Government and NHS boards has allowed them to continue to react quickly to formal UK clinical advice.
There is now an opportunity for the Scottish Government to use what's it's learned to manage the challenges of the next part of the vaccine programme, and the wider delivery of NHS services.