UK faces 'short-term' delay in Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine delivery

16 January 2021, 00:36

Pfizer confirmed the UK will face delays in delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine
Pfizer confirmed the UK will face delays in delivery of its Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

The UK faces short-term delays in delivery of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine as the company upgrades its production capacity.

The pharmaceutical giant is upscaling production at its plant in Puurs, Belgium, in efforts to produce more doses than originally planned for 2021.

But the move will temporarily reduce deliveries to all European countries, prompting anger from several EU countries.

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Shipments of the vaccine, produced in partnership with Germany's BioNTech, to the UK are set to be affected this month.

But the firm said the overall number of doses due to be delivered between January and March will remain the same.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said: "We understand a change to deliveries has the potential to create uncertainty.

"However, we can confirm the overall projected volumes of delivery to the UK remain the same for quarter one (January to March).

"We continue to liaise with the UK Government and the Vaccines Taskforce to work through short-term impact of these changes to our January deliveries and support the goals of the UK Covid-19 vaccination programme."

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In response, a spokeswoman for the Government said that it is still working to its plan of vaccinating all four priority groups by February 15.

The vaccine from Pfizer is not the only candidate available in the UK, with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca jab also currently being rolled out.

The delay is not expected to affect the UK's Covid-19 vaccine delivery targets
The delay is not expected to affect the UK's Covid-19 vaccine delivery targets. Picture: PA Images

The UK has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.

A Government spokeswoman said: "We are in the process of understanding the implications of Pfizer's announcement today to our plans.

"However we continue to plan to hit our target of vaccinating all four priority groups by February 15."