Over 50s urged to book jab before vaccine supply is 'significantly reduced'

25 March 2021, 06:08 | Updated: 25 March 2021, 08:46

Over 50s who are yet to receive a vaccine are being urged to book them in in the coming days
Over 50s who are yet to receive a vaccine are being urged to book them in in the coming days. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Those over the age of 50 who have not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine jab are being urged to book in before the supply of the drugs become "significantly reduced".

Earlier this month a letter to vaccine hubs in the UK said the dip in supply would happen from March 29, and will last for at least a four-week period.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the need to retest 1.7million coronavirus vaccine doses and a delay in supplies from India have caused the jab shortage in the UK.

Read more: 1.7m doses need re-testing and supplies from India delayed, Matt Hancock confirms

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Health officials also said the number of people getting their first dose of the vaccine will be “constrained” from the end of March due to a “significant reduction” in supply.

It means the NHS will be concentrating on giving out second doses to those who are due theirs, rather than booking in new patients for their first dose.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's Medical Director, has is now urging anyone who is eligible for the jab to book in in the coming days
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's Medical Director, has is now urging anyone who is eligible for the jab to book in in the coming days. Picture: PA

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's Medical Director, has is now urging anyone who is eligible for the jab to book in in the coming days.

He said: "It is a testament to the careful planning and sheer hard work of staff that the NHS vaccination programme is continuing to protect people against coronavirus at a record pace.

"I was thrilled to get my first dose earlier this month, it was quick, painless and safe and it feels great knowing I've got protection against COVID-19 - so if you are eligible, do not delay, book a jab."

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As of the 23 March, 28,653,523 people have had a first jab in the UK and 2,532,839 have had two jabs.

The Indian government has been accused of temporarily holding Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine exports to the UK amid reports a shipment of five million doses produced by the SII has been delayed.

The UK already received an initial batch of five million doses at the beginning of March.

CEO of the SII, Adar Poonawalla, told The Daily Telegraph the delay was "solely dependent on India and it has nothing to do with the SII. It is to do with the Indian Government allowing more doses to the UK”.

Back in February, he wrote online that the SII had "been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world".