AS THE Wee County continues to remain under Tier 3 restrictions, there has been a glimmer of hope for all of us with the announcement of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Eight months on, this year has been difficult for us all, but an effective vaccine will help us get back to as close to normal as possible.

What is important therefore is that we have a robust vaccine delivery plan to be rolled out as soon as the vaccine is ready for delivery.

We have seen the problems that can occur when vaccine plans aren't up to scratch.

Recent changes to how the flu vaccine was delivered led to some younger people being invited first over higher priority and people having to travel long distances to get the vaccine.

The first minister confirmed to Ruth Davidson in Holyrood that the approach used for this year's flu vaccine will not be used to distribute the Covid-19 vaccine.

She did not, however, provide any specific details of how the programme will be delivered. We need to see the Scottish Government working constructively with the UK Government to deliver this vaccine quickly for people the length and breadth of Scotland.

In the meantime, our first line of defence is the Test and Protect system to control the spread of the virus.

Concerningly, however, the Scottish Government missed the World Health Organization (WHO) contact tracing target for eight consecutive weeks up to 11th October. In some of the worst weeks, a third of cases were not contacted within 72 hours.

These figures improved only when Public Health Scotland moved to using text as its primary method of contacting people. Clearly, this does not guarantee contacts have been successfully traced.

What is more concerning, however, is that the SNP hid the fact these targets had been missed from parliament. These targets weren't just missed by a little bit, they were missed by quite some distance. While we all appreciate that mistakes can be made, we need transparent data that can be scrutinised to help keep us all safe.

It seems, however, that the SNP's thoughts may be elsewhere. As lives and livelihoods continue to be lost, people could be forgiven for thinking that they would be focusing on fighting this pandemic and rebuilding our economy. But their Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said that another independence referendum "must take place in 2021".

The mask has well and truly slipped. It simply beggars belief that as we all continue to live under restrictions to our daily lives, that the SNP should be advocating for another independence referendum next year.

The last thing Scotland needs is more uncertainty and division. Such a policy is irresponsible in the extreme.

We in the Scottish Conservatives want to move on from the divisions of the past and focus on the issues that matter to people in Scotland: tackling the coronavirus, improving our schools, creating more jobs, supporting our National Health Services, and building better infrastructure.

This should be our focus: not the constitution.