Brits under 50 may have to wait another month before they're offered their coronavirus vaccine, as delays in key shipments could affect the rollout.
Adults may have to wait longer for their first Covd jab due to the shortages after NHS bosses told GPs to focus on delivering second shots to older patients and over 50s in coming weeks.
The second phase of the rollout is unlikely to start before mid-April, it's reported, which could push back the end of lockdown if less people are vaccinated.
In a letter sent yesterday, NHS chiefs warned of a "significant reduction" in weekly supply from March 29.
It said “volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained” for the following four weeks.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock addressed the public in a press conference yesterday evening, confirming the delay for younger Brits by saying the focus would remain instead on over 50s who have not had the jab.
He said: "At the same time as opening up offers of vaccinations to all those who are 50 or above, we're going to do whatever it takes to reach all those in the most vulnerable groups who haven't come forward yet.
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"Before we move on to the next cohort. And we will do that before we move on to people in their 40s.
"Before we forge ahead, I want us to be confident that we've done everything we can to protect those most in need of protection, and we will do all we can and do everything necessary to secure the supplies that are contractually committed to protecting people in this country."
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In response to further grilling on the NHS letter, he said: "As I said, the supply is always lumpy and we are on course to deliver the offer that everybody whose aged 50 and above will be able to get vaccinated by the end of April.
"Of course these supply schedules have moved up and down throughout the rollout, its absolutely par for the course, it's a normal operational letter."
Almost one in two Brit adults have now had their fiist Covid vaccination, with more than 25 million vaccinated against the pandemic.
A Department of Health and Social Care 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.
“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 15 April and all adults by 31 July.”
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