Covid-19: Vaccine minister confident of supplies amid production delays

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Supplies of vaccines are ’’tight’’ but the UK is confident it will receive enough doses to meet its targets, the vaccine minister has said.

Nadhim Zahawi said that manufacturers were “confident” they would deliver for the UK amid warnings of production delays.

It comes as the EU said it might tighten vaccine export controls.

Countries should avoid “vaccine nationalism” and ensure a fair global supply, Mr Zahawi said.

Mr Zahawi said the vaccination programme was still on track to deliver a first dose to 15 million of the most vulnerable by mid-February and to offer all adults their first dose by autumn.

He said the UK had supplies of the Oxford vaccine manufactured domestically by AstraZeneca as well as the Pfizer one, which is made in Belgium.

“I’m confident we will meet our mid-February target and continue beyond that,” he said.

“Supplies are tight, they continue to be, these are new manufacturing processes,” Mr Zahawi added. “It’s lumpy and bumpy, it gets better and stabilises and improves going forward.”

But he declined to say that he had received guarantees about the number of doses the UK would receive from Pfizer or other manufacturers and refused to confirm how many doses had already arrived.

 

Olusola Akintonde/BBC

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