Lockdown roadmap won't be delayed, minister insists, amid vaccine shortage

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives an update on the COVID-19 pandemic during a virtual news conference in London

"We have been informed by the Vaccine Task Force that additional supplies of vaccine, which we were expecting to arrive in the United Kingdom before mid-April will now be delivered up to four weeks later than originally planned".

"There is a delay.as there is very frequently in vaccine rollout programmes", he said.

Pressed on whether the Indian government had stopped exports of vaccine to Britain, Johnson said: "No, no, there is a delay as there often is, caused for various technical reasons, but we hope to continue to work very closely with the Serum Institute, and indeed with partners around the world including on the European continent".

"We have less supply than we might have hoped for the coming weeks but we expect it to increase again later", Jenrick told the BBC.

Hancock said that Britain was happy for the shot to be manufactured around the world, but quoted a tweet von der Leyen sent in late January saying "there should not be restrictions on the export of vaccines by companies where they are fulfilling contractual responsibilities".

Health experts have warned that volumes for "first doses" of the vaccine will be "significantly constrained" from the end of March.

The easing of lockdown restrictions in line with the roadmap to reopening the economy is still expected to go ahead as planned, due to the expectation that the majority of most vulnerable groups are on course to be vaccinated by April 12, the date of the first easing of restrictions when pubs can open outdoors and non-essential retail can reopen.

"If full vaccination becomes required for holidays overseas or even more mundane things like going to the cinema, millions of younger people may end up being excluded from participating for the whole summer".

The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock has partly blamed India for the major delay to the supply and rollout of UK's jab.

"Trying to dismiss or downplay the legitimate concerns of anxious people waiting for a vaccine is simply not good enough", Mr Ashworth added.

"Significant supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to vaccination centres and Global Positioning System last week and additional supplies are being delivered this week".

Asked about the letter, Mr Hancock said: "Supply is always lumpy and we are on course to deliver the offer that everybody who is aged 50 and above will be able to get vaccinated by the 15th of April".

Meanwhile, an AstraZeneca spokeswoman said: "Our UK domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule".

The European Commission chief said she wanted "reciprocity and proportionality" in exports, pointing out that 10 million doses of vaccine had gone from the EU to the UK.

Hancock told MPs in the Commons, "In April, supply is tighter than this month and we have a huge number of second doses to deliver".



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