Shortage of needles in Scotland branded a ‘national disgrace’

Lack of equipment also afflicting Covid vaccination drive in France and Germany

MUSSELBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 10: A member of staff administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the public on the opening day of NHS Lothian’s first drive through mass vaccination centre at Queen Margaret University Campus on February 10, 2021 in Musselburgh, Scotland. The drive-through centre at the university in East Lothian is the first of its kind in the region. It opened for its first patients this morning. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Vaccine needle shortages were reported in Scotland and parts of the European Union as doctors fight to get as many people as possible vaccinated against coronavirus.
There is a scarcity of needles to administer the vaccine in NHS Lothian, the area that covers Scottish capital Edinburgh, while a similar problem affects some EU nations.
The health board in Scotland admitted on Tuesday that some GP surgeries were affected by the dearth.

"Due to an external manufacturing and packing issue, a small number of GP practices experienced recent supply shortages of vaccination needles. More supplies are due to arrive, which will help to minimise any disruption," said Colin Briggs, director of strategic planning at NHS Lothian. "In any instance where a vaccination appointment has been postponed, alternative arrangements are being sought as quickly as possible."
The daughter of a 93-year-old woman in Edinburgh said the lack of needles was a "national disgrace".

"The fact that an extremely vulnerable and elderly lady has still received no formal notification of when she might get her first dose of the vaccine is surely not right," she said.
"That the community vaccination roll-out to vulnerable groups has been stopped due to insufficient needles is a national disgrace."
As of Tuesday, 96 per cent of Scots over 80 and not living in care homes had received a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. This is a missed target for the Scottish government, which aimed to complete that group by February 4.
France and Germany are also affected by a needle shortage.

Doctors want to get six doses out of each prepared vial but to do so requires needles that are narrow enough to reach all the way into the vial and long enough to administer an injection into the recipient's muscle.
Some hospitals in the Mediterranean resort of Cannes received needles from the French public health authority that were too short.
In Germany, each of the 16 federal states is responsible for obtaining its own needles and syringes.
Some, such as Baden-Wuerttemberg and Thuringia, had the foresight to order the appropriate equioment early, while others, including Bavaria, did not and are having to place follow-on orders, officials said.
Europe's leading maker of injection equipment, German company B.Braun, said it faced increased demand for syringes and other products needed for vaccinations.
"With our competitors, we are currently able to cover all demands in connection with products needed for the vaccinations," spokeswoman Christine Bossek said. "We are working in parallel on solutions to ensure that this will also be the case in the future."
BioNTech said that it had procured 50 million needles, which are available for sale, and is seeking to buy more.
BVMed, the German medical technology industry association, reported no production problems and said that supplies of syringes and needles were adequate.