Covid vaccine: India shortfall behind UK's supply delay – BBC News

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An anticipated discount within the UK’s Covid vaccine provide subsequent month is because of a delay within the supply of 5 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses from India.

The cargo, produced by the Serum Institute of India, has been held up by 4 weeks, the BBC has been informed.

NHS England warned of a discount in provide in April in a letter to native well being organisations on Wednesday.

The Division of Well being insists it’s nonetheless on monitor to supply a primary dose to all adults by the top of July.

A spokesperson for the Serum Institute stated: “5 million doses had been delivered a number of weeks in the past to the UK and we are going to attempt to provide extra later, primarily based on the present state of affairs and the requirement for the federal government immunisation programme in India.”

A supply informed the BBC that though the unique purpose had been to ship the subsequent 5 million in March, there was not a stipulated time for the supply of the doses.

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Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick stated the UK had much less provide of the vaccine “than we would have hoped for within the coming weeks however we count on it to extend once more by the course of April”.

He informed BBC Breakfast the vaccine rollout could be “barely slower than we would have hoped however not slower than the goal we had set ourselves” of providing a primary dose to all folks aged over 50 by 15 April, and all adults by the top of July.

He stated that anybody who had an appointment for a second jab “ought to have full confidence” that they may go forward.

“The month of April shall be totally different – and it was all the time going to be – as a result of I feel this would be the month that second jabs exceed first jabs,” he added.

Greater than 25 million folks within the UK have had a primary dose of a Covid vaccine, whereas round 1.7 million have had a second jab.

After opening up appointments to all over-50s on Wednesday, the NHS in England was then informed to not supply jabs to youthful age teams all through April.

The Serum Institute is the world’s largest producer of vaccines and is making one billion doses of the AstraZeneca jab this 12 months for low and center revenue nations.

Earlier this month, it agreed to provide 10 million doses for the UK, however solely half of those will arrive this month with the remainder delayed for a number of weeks.

These provides had been all the time a part of the contract and the UK isn’t taking vaccines away from provides for lower-income nations.

All the remainder of the UK’s AstraZeneca doses are being produced domestically and the corporate says there aren’t any provide points.

Pfizer, which produces its vaccine in Belgium, says its deliveries to the NHS are additionally on monitor.

Though, on Wednesday, European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen stated if Covid vaccine provides in Europe don’t enhance, the EU “will replicate whether or not exports to nations who’ve larger vaccination charges than us are nonetheless proportionate”.

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Analysis box by Nick Triggle, health correspondent

We had been all the time warned provide was fragile – and these developments are a reminder of that.

The UK has its personal crops which are supplying one to 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine every week.

There are additionally shares coming from Pfizer’s Belgium plant – these could be those that may be vulnerable to any restrictions on exports the EU is threatening.

The Indian provides had been supposed to provide the UK the “bumper” finish to March, permitting the federal government to push forward with vaccination of the under-50s inside weeks.

This has now been placed on maintain, given vital numbers will want their second doses from the beginning of subsequent month.

The federal government remains to be on monitor to hit its goal to supply all adults a vaccine by the top of July.

By late Spring the primary doses of Moderna – the third vaccine to have been authorised within the UK – ought to begin arriving.

However the delay to the second cargo from India means rollout goes to take a little bit longer than was hoped initially of this week.

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Mr Hancock is because of give a press release to MPs within the Commons in a while Thursday.

Shadow well being secretary Jonathan Ashworth tweeted that individuals “throughout the nation” could be “anxious and nervous” about information of delays.

Labour can also be backing a name from bereaved households for a public inquiry into the dealing with of the Covid pandemic.

In a letter to Michael Gove, Rachel Reeves asks for his dedication to a public inquiry as soon as the top of the federal government roadmap for leaving lockdown restrictions is reached.

Boris Johnson has beforehand promised an “impartial inquiry” into the pandemic.

Priority group list

As well as, the European Medicines Company (EMA) is due on Thursday to launch the findings of an investigation into circumstances of blood clots in a handful of Oxford-AstraZeneca jab recipients.

A number of European nations have paused using the vaccine however the regulator has stated there was “no indication” it triggered the clots.

The World Well being Group has urged nations to not halt vaccinations.

An additional 141 folks within the UK have died inside 28 days of a optimistic take a look at, based on figures up to date on Wednesday from the UK authorities. An additional 5,758 folks have examined optimistic.

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