Vaccine rollout slows amid concerns over Pfizer supply shortage

16 June 2021, 10:42

Vaccine supplies have been described by the head of the NHS in England as "constrained" with concerns growing that the rollout of jabs is slowing
Vaccine supplies have been described by the head of the NHS in England as "constrained" with concerns growing that the rollout of jabs is slowing. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Vaccine supplies have been described by the head of the NHS in England as "constrained" with concerns growing that the rollout of jabs is slowing.

Those who have been offered the jab now include those in their early twenties, and concerns over blood clots with the AstraZeneca have meant anyone under 40 is being offered one of the two alternatives.

But there has been a significant drop in jabs being given out each day, with 368,555 vaccine doses being given on Monday - far below the 844,285 managed in a single day in March.

Read more: Covid jabs 'to be made compulsory' for care home staff in England - reports

Read more: Boris Johnson faces growing Tory rebellion over Commons vote on lockdown extension

Boris Johnson announced on Monday the decision to delay England's Freedom Day from June 21 to July 19, in order to give the NHS "few more crucial weeks" to combat the spread of the Delta variant, which originated in India. The delay is so that more people can get the jab.

Mr Johnson also brought forward the target to offer all Brits their first dose of a jab from July 31 to July 19, meaning the UK is in the final crucial stages of the population having protection from the deadly virus.

Boris Johnson announces delay of one month for lockdown roadmap end

NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens said on Tuesday that all adults in England are expected to be offered their first dose by the end of the week, but told the NHS Confederation's annual conference "supply continues to be constrained"

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi praised Pfizer for the rollout of their vaccine, but admitted supply was "tight".

"Pfizer have done a great job in being consistent on their delivery schedule," he said, adding that the company had done

"remarkable things to increase their production, not just for us but for the whole world, for Europe and the US as well. But it is tight".

Read more: 'Kick in the teeth' - business owners react to roadmap delay

Read more: Michael Gove tells LBC "Bizarre, unprecedented event" would be needed to derail 19 July

Local leaders in England have also raised concerns over possible shortages of the Pfizer vaccine in their areas and concerns of a delay to the roll-out of jabs.

Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, told the Telegraph that unless the Government can deliver Pfizer or Moderna vaccines "in the right numbers", it is "hard to see how we can safely unlock on July 19" adding "that goes for the whole country".

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman insisted there are "no shortages" of vaccines and that "deliveries are coming in on time and as ordered".

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