John Loch from Bearsden made his way to the Louisa Jordan hospital yesterday to be vaccinated against Covid-19. During his appointment, Scotland hit the million jab mark.
While we don’t know for certain that the 69-year-old got the millionth dose, John said he was delighted to be part of the milestone moment, his calmness perhaps at odds with the dramatic weather outside.
Storm Darcy closed in at the start of this week bringing with it blizzards, avalanche warnings and temperatures as low as -18 degrees. Nasa has published images which show all of Scotland’s land mass, bar a thin sliver of the west coast, is coated in a thick covering of snow.
But that didn’t deter the vaccine go-getters. In the Borders, 4×4 experience companies offered vaccine pickups, and on the outskirts of Edinburgh people dug pavements to get local GPs and snow-caked cars to the Queen Margaret University drive through centre.
Even after the snow melts away, there are plenty more hurdles in our path back to normality. Variants – both existing and emerging. Supplies and how they can be fairly spread. The strength of quarantine regimes and compliance with restrictions.
But it’s startling to think about how far we’ve come. This time last year, John’s vaccination venue – the SECC – hosted wedding shows, pop concerts and markets. Now the arena is a fully fledged emergency hospital that can expand to cater for 1,000 patients at short notice.
Scotland was slow to get going but we’re picking up pace and frosty foreign disputes over supplies or extreme weather warnings haven’t knocked us off course just yet.
The WHO’s announcement yesterday that the Oxford vaccine was effective in older adults and that the UK was right to press ahead with giving out as many first doses as possible was another reason for celebration.
Optimism isn’t a natural state for us Scots, whose highest level of positivity can sometimes reach “no bad” but delaying the second dose has turned out to be a rare double whammy – covering more people and improving effectiveness.
So, for now we can enjoy this impressive marker and marvel at the determined scientists and NHS staff who got us here.