NHS warns of ‘significant reduction’ in vaccine supplies

The UK’s coronavirus vaccine programme was thrown off course on Wednesday as the NHS warned of a “significant reduction” in supplies of jabs and ordered a freeze on new vaccination appointments for April.

NHS staff were told that “volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained” and the start of inoculations for the under-50s would be delayed.

One senior government figure blamed AstraZeneca for failing to meet its supply commitments. But the drugmaker said: “Our UK domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule.”

It is understood that people who have already booked their vaccine slots will still be able to proceed with their appointment, the BBC reported.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said at a press conference yesterday that the changes are to ensure that all vulnerable people that have not been vaccinated are reached as a part of the rollout.

“Now we’ve opened up to the 50 and overs, then we’re going to really focus on getting the vaccine to the most vulnerable and because we have a whole load of second vaccines to deliver vaccine supplies are always lumpy,” he said.

“It’s absolutely critical we reach out, loop back and invite yet again all the vulnerable groups that have not yet been vaccinated.

The letter, which has been sent to local vaccination sites across the country, says volumes for first doses are going to be “significantly constrained”.

Disruption could last for four weeks, and is linked to “reductions in national inbound vaccines supply”.

Over 25m people have now had a Coronavirus vaccine, but the numbers will start to significantly slow down  due to yesterday’s news.

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