AstraZeneca vaccine: Company confirm ‘no issue’ with UK jab supply after delay fears

Laura Kuenssberg grills Matt Hancock over NHS vaccine letter

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It comes after the NHS warned of a “significant reduction in the weekly supply” of coronavirus vaccines in England next month. In a letter to local health organisations, the NHS said there has been a “reduction in national inbound vaccines supply” and asked to “ensure no further appointments are uploaded” to booking systems in April.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was a “standard” letter and said the NHS regularly sent them out to explain the “ups and downs” of supply.

BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg reported there would be fewer AstraZeneca vaccines than expected due to the company’s international supply.

She tweeted: “Govt became aware of problem with vaccine shortage in last 48 hours. Issue is with AZ international supply, not UK.

“Seems all manufacturers apart from Pfizer having supply issues – some AZ batches that were expected to be available are not going to be.”

ITV’s Shehab Khan said AstraZeneca had confirmed the UK domestic supply would not be impacted.

He tweeted: “AstraZeneca are saying there is no issue with their UK domestic supply chain for their vaccine.

“Spokesperson: ‘Our UK domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule’.”

Pfizer has also confirmed that its supply remains on schedule.

A Pfizer spokesperson told Mr Khan: “We can confirm that Q1 deliveries remain on track and continue to progress in line with the monthly schedule.

“We will work closely with the Government to ensure this remains the case.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson also told ITV that the vaccination programme will continue “in the coming weeks”.

The spokesperson said: “Health services across the UK are working tirelessly to vaccinate those most at risk and more than 25 million people have already received their first jab.

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“The vaccination programme will continue in the coming weeks and more people will continue to receive first and second doses.

“As has been the case since the programme began, the number of vaccinations carried out over time will vary due to supply – but we remain on track to offer a first vaccine to over 50s by April 15 and all adults by July 31.”

It is understood that those who have booked a vaccine already will not lose their slot.

Almost half of adults in the UK have received their first does of a coronavirus vaccine so far – more than 25 million people.

About 1.7 million people in the country have also had a second dose.

During a Downing Street press briefing, Mr Hancock said Britain was “ahead of schedule” to offer a first dose to all over-50s by April 15.

Speaking alongside the Health Secretary, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam insisted there is “no evidence” that the AstraZeneca jab cause an “increased risk” of blood clots.

His comments come after several EU states, including France and Germany, paused their vaccine rollouts after reports emerged of blood clots in some AstraZeneca recipients.

However, the EU’s medicines regulator has said there is “no indication” the vaccine causes blood clots.

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