THE past few weeks have seen the Covid vaccination programme dominate the news, Parliament and my local casework.

That is hardly surprising since it is such a critical effort in the fight against the pandemic and one of the biggest logistical efforts in living memory. We should recognise and be very grateful for the efforts of those who have organised it and those working long shifts to deliver the jags.

There were bound to be some problems, though, and the programme in Scotland did get off to a sluggish start. It has improved in recent days, although we are told it will slow down again because of a temporary reduction in vaccine supplies.

Locally, though, the biggest problem has been the distance some people have been asked to travel for vaccination. I even raised this at First Minister’s Questions last week, pointing out that some people were being asked to travel as far as Ingliston, passing hubs at Haddington and Musselburgh.

I do not think Nicola Sturgeon really appreciated how big a problem this can be – I understand that we need to be prepared to make an effort to get vaccinated, but asking people over 70, who do not drive and who have not really left their house for a year, to get to Ingliston, 40 miles away, at 7pm in the pitch dark, is too much.

I have also raised this directly with NHS Lothian, but the appointment system is a national one and they cannot rearrange appointments. That can only be done by phoning 0800 030 8013 or online at (if you are over 75 or shielding, call your GP). The phone line should also be able to advise on help with transport if required.

I know that many people have found it difficult to get appointments changed, but most do manage, so please do persevere; it is so important for you, your family and the wider community that you do get your vaccination.