Drug giants Pfizer and AstraZeneca have dismissed an NHS declare that the UK faces a scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines, insisting there isn’t a menace to provides.
The 2 main vaccine makers have each mentioned they keep on monitor to satisfy supply commitments and have denied dealing with provide disruptions.
Their provocative statements appeared to contradict a letter to vaccination facilities of NHS England warning that there might be a “important minimize” in provides subsequent month.
The jab disaster coincided with a menace from European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen to block vaccine exports to the UK, the place 25 million adults have now had their first stroke.
Sources informed Sky Information that one of many causes the variety of doses administered varies over time is that batches require extra testing to make sure the best security requirements are met in all circumstances.
Jab websites in England have now been ordered to cease vaccinating individuals beneath 50 in April, a transfer that has prompted Tory MPs to concern it is going to delay the easing of lockdown measures.
Vaccine makers reacted after Well being Secretary Matt Hancock informed a Downing Road press convention the provide was “nonetheless lumpy” and the NHS England warning was “regular” .
In a terse assertion, Pfizer mentioned: “We have now an settlement with the federal government to ship 40 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine to the UK by the tip of the 12 months.
“Whereas the main points of this settlement are confidential, we will affirm that Q1 deliveries stay on monitor and proceed to progress in line with the month-to-month schedule, agreed upfront with the Vaccine Working Group.”
And AstraZeneca mentioned in an announcement: “Our home provide chain within the UK isn’t experiencing any disruption and there’s no influence on our supply schedule.”
In response to statements from pharmaceutical corporations, the Division of Well being informed Sky Information: “As has been the case for the reason that begin of this system, the variety of vaccinations carried out over time will differ relying on provide – however we stay on monitor to supply a primary vaccine to individuals over 50 as of April 15 and to all adults as of July 31. “
Though Mr Hancock gave no cause for the NHS England provide warning, sources in Whitehall deny that the disaster means there might be no first doses in April or that lower than 50 years must wait till Could to be vaccinated.
Sources additionally deny that the provision drawback is because of the menace from the European Union, which Overseas Minister Dominic Raab has condemned as tug-of-war of the sort exploited by undemocratic regimes.
The hard-hitting letter from NHS England that triggered the road states: “There might be a major discount within the weekly provide out there from producers from the week of March 29, that means volumes for the primary doses might be significantly limits.
“Inviting sufferers outdoors of cohorts 1 to 9 is just allowed in distinctive circumstances. Individuals aged 49 or youthful shouldn’t be supplied the vaccination except they’re eligible by a cohort. larger.”
Reacting to the specter of a vaccine scarcity, Tory MPs mentioned it may imply Boris Johnson is being pressured to postpone a few of the 4 levels of his roadmap to finish lockdown restrictions in England.
“I think about that might decelerate the easing of a few of the restrictions,” Dr Dan Poulter, a basic practitioner and former junior well being minister, informed Sky Information.
“They are going to be primarily based on information and proof anyway. However which will imply that a part of the reopening of the economic system might be slowed down a bit extra.
“Because it stands, we seem like on high of the virus because of the lockdown and vaccines and that is excellent news. However we’re not but.”
Labor Phantom Well being Secretary Jonathan Ashworth mentioned: “Individuals throughout the nation might be anxious and nervous that reserving new appointments for the primary dose of vaccination is placed on maintain on the finish of March.
“Matt Hancock needed to clarify precisely what these provide points are and what he is doing to repair them. Attempting to dismiss or downplay the professional considerations of anxious individuals ready for a vaccine simply is not sufficient.”