Matt Hancock warned today that the rollout of the Covid vaccine will take a dip this week, but there will be a bump in March to make up for the delay.
The health minister said a delay in the supply schedule will result in fewer injections being distributed.
But both AstraZeneca and Pfizer – manufacturers of the two jabs currently in operation in the UK – insist there is ‘no problem’ with deliveries.
Official figures showed Britain only administered 150,000 vaccines on Sunday, which was the worst daily performance since the NHS rollout began to soar last month.
With a quick vaccination urge crucial to diminishing Britain’s hopes of lockdown in the coming months, critics say there is ‘no excuse’ to delay the rollout.
Think tank bosses believe supply is unlikely to be behind the downturn alone, as there have been reports that centers across the country are out of stock – which they were not.
James Lawson, a think tank fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, said the virus is “ not resting ” and neither should the massive NHS surgery.
Boris Johnson placed a successful vaccine rollout at the heart of his lockdown relaxation plan, which he revealed yesterday.
As long as the operation continues successfully, all restrictions in England can be lifted by June 21. Any hiccups can threaten that target.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned vaccine rollout will take a dip this week, but there will be a bump in March to compensate
In an interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Mr. Hancock revealed that vaccine rollout figures will remain low for the rest of the week.
He said it will be a “quieter week” for the vaccine rollout due to a drop in supply, warning that the drive’s success was “all about the supply.”
‘Compelling’ real-world data from Scotland shows that one dose of either injection reduces the risk of hospitalization by up to 95%
Covid vaccines used in Britain work ‘spectacularly well’, reducing the number of hospitalizations caused by the virus by as much as 95 percent, according to the first real evidence of the release.
Researchers yesterday called the results “very encouraging” and claimed they provided “compelling evidence” that they can prevent serious illness.
Scientists counted Covid hospital admissions in Scotland among people who had received their first dose of an injection and compared them to those who had not yet received a dose of the Pfizer or Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
As a ray of hope for the UK’s plans to ease the lockdown, the results showed that the injections reduced the risk of being admitted with Covid by 85 and 94 percent, respectively, four weeks after a single dose.
The study – conducted by academics from the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde, as well as Public Health Scotland – was the first of its kind. But it doesn’t currently have enough data to analyze how well the jabs prevent death or stop the transmission of the virus.
Principal investigator Professor Aziz Sheikh said: “These results are very encouraging and have given us good reasons to be optimistic for the future. We now have national evidence that vaccination protects against Covid hospital admissions.
“The rollout of the first dose of vaccine now needs to be accelerated worldwide to help overcome this terrible disease.”
Mr. Hancock added: “We have a quieter week this week and then we will have some real bumper weeks in March.”
He blamed the vaccine manufacturers, also claiming that there are ‘ups and downs’ in the delivery schedule.
A spokesman for AstraZeneca said yesterday that although there were “fluctuations” in the supply of plants, they were still “on track” with the orders.
Pfizer also confirmed to MailOnline yesterday that there were “no delivery issues in the UK” and that deliveries arrived according to plan.
The pharmaceutical company did see delivery delays in Europe last month due to upgrades to its manufacturing facility in Belgium to ensure it could deliver more doses this year.
A spokesman said at the time that they could confirm that “the total expected delivery volumes to the UK will remain the same for the first quarter (January to March).”
Both companies have declined to disclose how many of these doses have already been delivered in the UK.
However, a Pfizer spokesperson said they had delivered 21 shipments in early January. It is not clear how many doses were in each shipment.
Britain is rushing to give as many first doses as possible to people over 50 before the end of March, when millions of second jabs are due to be rolled out.
The prime minister has pledged to poke all 32 million in the top nine groups by April 15 and every adult by the end of July.
But statistics from the Department of Health show that an average of only 360,000 doses were dispensed last week.
This is 17 percent lower than last Sunday’s moving average of nearly 435,000. It is the lowest rate since January 22.
In total, 18.2 million doses of Covid vaccines have been issued so far, of which 17.7 million have received their first shot.
Figures show that the number of second doses being distributed has increased, but not to a level high enough to cause a delay.
Critics have urged No10 to publish more detailed data on UK deliveries so that ‘bottlenecks’ in the ride can be identified and ironed out.
James Lawson, a business strategist and fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, said the government needs to stop the weekly swings in the rollout.
“What we have noticed is that there seems to be a persistent problem with the number of doses dropping over the weekend,” he told MailOnline.
And while the government has made tremendous strides in accelerating vaccine rollout, there is no excuse for this variability.
“The virus does not rest, the virus does not sleep, the virus does not stop on Friday at 6 p.m. and neither does the roll-out of the vaccine.”
Mr. Lawson, who has written a paper on speeding up the rollout, said it was unclear what triggered the vaccinations’ fall due to the lack of data.
Likely both supply and distribution played a role in slowing the rollout, he added, and that once problems were resolved in one area, they appeared in another.