Nicola Sturgeon would be waiting for “some time yet” to receive her coronavirus vaccine if Scotland had joined the EU’s inoculation scheme, Douglas Ross has said.
The Scottish Conservative leader said there would be more than a million fewer doses of the vaccine in Scotland if the UK Government had taken the EU’s approach.
EU vaccination rates have lagged behind the UK’s as the bloc struggles with supply issues.
Scotland receives vaccines through the UK procurement scheme, though last summer SNP MPs criticised UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s decision to opt out of the EU vaccine purchase scheme.
On Tuesday, the First Minister said she has an appointment for her first vaccine jab later this week.
Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Ross said the SNP’s earlier comments on UK vaccine procurement had been shown to be “false, hollow and completely wrong”.
He said: “It is our way out of this pandemic, the positive rollout of the vaccine scheme is allowing us to look forward rather than backward.
“I think people across Scotland recognise we are only able to do that because we are part of a strong United Kingdom.
“If Nicola Sturgeon had her way, she would take an independent Scotland back into the European Union and there would be well over a million-and-a-half fewer doses of the vaccine available in Scotland.
“And it would be some time yet before Nicola Sturgeon was due to get her vaccine rather than just a matter of hours.”
Mr Ross was also asked by journalists if he expects Boris Johnson to visit Scotland during the election campaign.
He said there are no plans for the Prime Minister to do so due to the pandemic, though he added “things could still change”.
An SNP spokesman said: “These remarks from Douglas Ross are utterly pathetic, but entirely in keeping with his petulant, puerile tone.
“Rather than playing petty politics with the vaccine rollout, the SNP will continue to support our hard-working NHS staff in their efforts to complete the vaccine programme in Scotland, which is helping to save lives.”