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UK COVID-19 vaccination drive hit with supply delays over the coming weeks

Weekly vaccine supplies face a 'significant reduction' from 29 March

The UK’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out is expected to be affected by 'significant' delays in supply over the coming weeks, according to health officials.

The vaccine roll-out is expected to slow from 29 March following a drop in supplies, according to Reuters.

“We have less supply than we might have hoped for the coming weeks but we expect it to increase again later,” said Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

“The vaccine roll-out will be slightly slower than we might have hoped but not slower than the target. We have every reason to believe that supply will increase in the months of May, June and July,” he added.

According to the BBC, the reduction in the COVID-19 vaccine supply for April is due in part to a delayed delivery from the Serum Institute of India, containing five million doses of the AstraZeneca (AZ)/Oxford University vaccine.

An AZ spokesman said “our UK domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule”, although they offered no clarity on the status of the supplies from India.

Pfizer has also maintained that it is due to meet its scheduled UK delivery targets, with a company spokeswoman confirming that “Q1 deliveries remain on track and continue to progress in line with the monthly schedule”.

She added: “We will work closely with the government to ensure this remains the case; our overall projected supply for Q2 remains unchanged and we are on course to continue to deliver a steady supply of vaccines to the UK, from April to June, in line with our contractual commitments.”

NHS England officials issued a letter to organisations within the health service yesterday, saying that it has been notified that there will be a ‘significant reduction’ in the weekly vaccine supply in April.

In the letter, the officials said that the focus should remain on vaccinating cohorts one to nine in the prioritisation groups outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), representing those who are most at risk from COVID-19.

‘Those aged 49 years or younger should not be offered vaccination unless they are eligible via a higher cohort because they are, for example, clinically vulnerable, unpaid carers or frontline health and care workers,’ the officials said.

Over 25 million people – representing nearly half of the UK adults population – have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The supply issue reports come as people aged 50 and over are being invited to come forward to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

18th March 2021

From: Healthcare

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