Government anticipating vaccine 'supply issues' in coming weeks

The COVID-19 vaccines work by mimicking the infection, tricking the body to believe you’ve got the infection so you then...

A government minister has confirmed that there is an anticipated supply shortage of the AstraZeneca vaccine for April - Credit: Archant

The UK is preparing for an expected shortage of vaccination supplies in April, a government minister has today confirmed.

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, told Sky News this morning that the government is anticipating "some supply issues in the coming weeks".

It follows news that a leaked operational letter from NHS England - sent to vaccination centres across the country - warned of significant limitations on first dosages of available vaccines in the country for April.

Mr Jenrick told Sky: "We're sourcing vaccines from all over the world and we are experiencing, occasionally, some issues and that's led to this issue with some supply in the coming weeks."

It is understood that those aged 49 and below will receive their vaccine under "exceptional circumstances" after March 29 until the shortage is over, according to Sky.

The Department for Health and Social Care is adamant that this expected delay will not impact the government's plan to offer all adults a vaccine by the end of July.

A spokesman from DHSC 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.”

A statement from AstraZeneca denied any domestic supply chain issues, stating there is "no impact" on its expected delivery schedule.