Saturday, 19 June, 2021


AstraZeneca shipment from India behind UK vaccine delay, says report

Woman receives vaccine Woman receives vaccine
Bennie Garza | 19 March, 2021, 00:05

The Department for Health and Social care said in a statement that "we remain on track to offer a first vaccine to over 50s by 15 April and all adults by 31 July".

The EU threatened on Wednesday to ban exports of COVID-19 vaccines to Britain to safeguard scarce doses for its own citizens.

"Now, I want to put on the record my gratitude to the Serum Institute of India for the incredible work that they're doing producing vaccine not just for us in the United Kingdom, but for the whole world".

Britain has been conducting the fastest roll-out of inoculations by a major economy but health officials said on Wednesday the programme would face a significant reduction in supplies from March 29, without initially specifying where the problems were.

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.

Asked if the issue was supply from India, Jenrick said he did not think it was right to discuss specific contracts.

"It was disappointing news when we heard yesterday that the supplies weren't going to be available during April", he told the BBC.

Prof Finn said the current aim was to complete priority groups 1-9 (aged 50 and above plus health conditions) but also "to deliver on those second doses because JCVI has been very clear from the outset that those second doses must be given in order to provide the long-term protection that people need".

HEALTH Coronavirus

"The vaccine rollout will be slightly slower than we might have hoped but not slower than the target", he said.

Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Serum Institute of India (SII) which is manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, told the UK's Telegraph newspaper that the situation was exclusively dependent on the Indian government and had nothing to do with the SII.

Global Positioning System have said that delays to vaccine supply shouldn't cause huge concern, despite parts of our region having some of the highest infection rates in England.

Adar Poonawalla, the Serum Institute's chief executive, said countries were holding tightly to their supplies and restricting access to materials needed to make more.

"That is the basis of worldwide trade and I'm sure that the European Union will live up to the commitments and statements that it has made, including president von der Leyen herself, who has said that there should not be restrictions on companies when they are fulfilling contractual responsibilities".

The Health Secretary said supplies would be "tighter" in April, adding the NHS still had a "huge amount" of second doses of the vaccine to administer.

"Of course there should not and we fully expect those contracts to be delivered on because there are very significant consequences to breaking contract law". It could have knock-on effects that last for months, including potential delays in lifting COVID-19 restrictions, he said.

"There will be no weeks in April with no first doses", he said.

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