United Kingdom lockdown could be EXTENDED due to 'significantly constrained' vaccine supply

Clay Curtis
March 19, 2021

"By pushing back the under-50s first doses, their second doses are also being pushed back", Clarke said.

The supply crunch prompted the United Kingdom government to shift focus and offer remaining doses to the people most at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in the House of Commons today: "We have a delay in the scheduled arrival from the Serum Institute of India", adding that 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have also been held up because experts have had to "re-test its stability" following weeks of speculation that the jab is unsafe.

"We're sourcing vaccines from all over the world and we are experiencing, occasionally, some issues and that's led to this issue with some supply in the coming weeks".

NHS England told health leaders on Wednesday to expect a significant shortfall in vaccine doses from March 29 for about four weeks.

The shortages come after Britain announced a new milestone Wednesday - more than 25 million people have now received a first shot of the vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE or by Astra and the University of Oxford.

Mr Hancock said no appointments would be cancelled and a target to have everyone in the top nine priority groups vaccinated by mid-April would still be met.

He said: "The impact of this shortage of supplies will happen on the group that we were hoping to start on in April, which is the people under the age of 50 without any pre-existing conditions, who are now going to have to wait until May".

HEALTH Coronavirus Vaccine

The government had previously said the Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, would supply Britain with 10 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine this month.

"But the main thing is we're still very much on course, we've still got line of sight to deliver the vaccines and to meet our targets". This type of clot, which can occur naturally, has been reported in fewer than 1 in every million people vaccinated and no causal link to the vaccine has been established, the MHRA said.

The company said 5 million doses have already been delivered "and we will try to supply more later, based on the current situation and the requirement for the government immunization program in India".

Conservative former health secretary Jeremy Hunt questioned Mr Hancock over suggestions that vaccine exports could be blocked by the European Union, following comments by the head of the bloc's executive, Ursula von der Leyen.

Hancock said that European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen should respect contract law and that Britain expected to get the deliveries it had ordered.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I would point back to what the Serum institute have said and the fact that they are one of the manufacturers of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine". He added that a roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions in England was unaffected.

Health experts have warned that volumes for "first doses" of the vaccine will be "significantly constrained" from the end of March.

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