Second vaccine doses are 'protected' in plans to deal with dip in supply

28 March 2021, 07:41

An NHS England chief has said second vaccine doses are protected
An NHS England chief has said second vaccine doses are protected. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The UK has prepared for a "significant reduction" in Covid-19 vaccine supplies to ensure those who are due their second jabs are able to get them, an NHS chief has said.

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.

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Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: "The supply over April is slower, but we know that we will keep going.

"We've got enough vaccine to give people the second doses, those second doses are protected, and we've got enough vaccine to protect those in the priority cohorts."

She added: "At the same time as increasing second doses week on week, the NHS is reaching out to those 50-69 year-olds who haven't yet taken up the offer to be vaccinated.

"If you are one of those people yet to book a first dose, please come forward and get your life-saving Covid-19 vaccine which will not only protect you but those around you."

The UK is well underway with its massive vaccine roll out, with more than 25 million people now having been given their first dose.

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And it is hoped the roll out with be helped with the introduction of the Moderna vaccine, which according to the Sunday Times, is due to arrive on the shores of the UK imminently.

The 500,000 doses are thought to be arriving sooner than expected.

The newspaper also reported that the UK is going to be offering Ireland 3.7 million jabs to assist with their rollout, so lockdown restrictions can also be eased within Northern Ireland.

It also comes as Prime Minister said the roadmap out of lockdown is on schedule, but warned future freedoms "depends on things going right".

Speaking at the Conservative Party Spring Conference, Boris Johnson warned he is wary of the prospects of rising coronavirus infection rates, but said he sees "absolutely nothing in the data" to halt the easing of the lockdown.

The Prime Minister acknowledged cases could again spiral as restrictions are relaxed, but added the "key difference" this time is that the rise in prevalence should be "sufficiently mitigated" by the successful vaccine rollout.

Monday will see the next raft of lockdown easing, with the "rule of six" returning, allowing up to six people from up to two households to meet up outside to socialise.

It will be April 12 when shops are allowed to open once again, and pubs will be able to serve people outside.

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Mr Johnson said he would be among those attending their local pub for a pint - and getting a much-needed haircut.

"In just a few days' time I'm finally going to be able to go to the barbers, but more important than that I'm going to be able to go down the street and cautiously, but irreversibly I'm going to drink a pint in the pub.

"And as things stand I can see absolutely nothing in the data to dissuade me from continuing along our roadmap to freedom.

"Unlocking our economy and getting back to the life we love. Of course there are plenty of risks and I've got to be honest about the difficulties ahead, we are in a different world from last Spring."

He added that discovering the Kent variant of Covid-19 - also known as B117 - led to the tiering system of restrictions to be dropped.

Mr Johnson said: "That was an incredibly important moment, because we were then able to work out what was happening, because we could see that B117 was basically transmitting considerably faster.

"With that we were able to understand why the tiering system that had been basically working for much of the autumn just wasn't going to work anymore."