TWEEDDALE'S MP has been accused by a constituent of “undermining” the Scottish Government's coronavirus vaccination programme.

West Linton resident Ian Reid, 57, feels that David Mundell has been creating panic and trying to score ‘cheap political points’ by pointing to the relatively slow pace of Scotland’s jags roll-out.

In response, Tory member Mr Mundell said he “completely” disagrees with Mr Reid, adding that his [Mr Mundell’s] job is not to be “a cheerleader for the Scottish Government”.

Mr Mundell is the Westminster representative for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

Speaking to this newspaper about the coronavirus vaccination roll-out, Mr Reid said: “What was beginning to concern me is that it seems to have turned into a political football by the Scottish Conservatives and our local MP David Mundell.

“Our MP seems to be on some kind of campaign, for political reasons, to rubbish Scotland’s vaccination programme and undermine public health messaging. In the middle of a pandemic that is completely unacceptable.

“I think David is a decent guy but it’s just plain wrong. It’s cheap political point-scoring at the worst possible time. I’m disappointed.”

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The SNP’s vaccination roll-out has received criticism from opposition, with Scotland having vaccinated the lowest percentage of its population aged 16 and over (13.45 per cent) of the UK nations by February 2.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack, of the Conservatives, confirmed on Sunday (January 31) that almost half of the vaccines assigned to Scotland were still in freezers.

However, Mr Reid believes the plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable in society in Scotland provides a “completely rational explanation for the priorities and pace of the roll-out”.

“The Scottish Conservatives were saying publicly that the Scottish NHS were storing a vast number of COVID doses when they should be in people’s arms,” added Mr Reid, who declined to comment on whether he is a member of a political party himself.

“Listening to older people in my family and in the village, you could sense their alarm on this that Scottish authorities are somehow holding things up.

“Yes, there are glitches. Yes, there are bumps in the road but nothing like the level of alarm promoted by our local MP.”

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Responding to Mr Reid’s comments, Mr Mundell said: “I completely disagree with Mr Reid’s perspective.

“It is the job of opposition politicians to hold the Scottish Government to account on the roll-out of the vaccine in Scotland which, to date, has been slower than in other parts of the United Kingdom.

“What we all want to see is the most people vaccinated in the shortest time but simply being a cheerleader for Scottish Government isn’t how that is going to be achieved.”

In a statement on Tuesday (February 2), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said opposition were “reasonable” to ask “legitimate questions” about the speed of the roll-out.

By Tuesday, Scotland had vaccinated 98 per cent of its care home residents, as well as “83 per cent of the number of over-80s we estimate to be living in the community”, according to the First Minister.

She said: “Vaccinating the most vulnerable to the greatest extent possible is really important, even if it takes more time to do so. It will help to save more lives.”

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Regarding speeding up the roll-out, Ms Sturgeon added: “As we make more use of mass vaccination centres for the younger age groups, we expect the daily rate to also increase.”

Ms Sturgeon said that “just under” 35,000 first dose vaccinations were administered on Monday (February 1).

“That is the highest daily number so far – and it is 55 per cent higher than last Monday,” she said.

“So having achieved greater depth in the programme so far, in the form of high actual uptake in priority groups, our challenge now, absolutely, is to accelerate on breadth in the form of numbers overall."

As at 8.30am yesterday (Thursday, February 4), a total of 694,347 people in Scotland had received their first jag of a vaccine.

More than 45,087 were vaccinated on Wednesday (February 3) – a record daily total for the third day in a row.

The Scottish Government set February 5 (today) as its deadline for giving all over-80s, care home residents and frontline health workers their first jag.

Speaking earlier today on BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, health secretary Jeane Freeman said she was confident that target would be met.