UK May Face Significant Vaccine Supply Reductions in Coming Weeks
A letter to vaccination sites in the UK has cautioned that supplies of COVID-19 vaccines will be tight for about four weeks starting near the end of the month, but Pfizer has offered assurance that it is on track to meet its supply commitments on time.
According to reports, the letter from National Health Service England warned of a “significant reduction” in vaccine supplies that will begin on March 29 and last approximately four weeks. It also stressed the importance of administering second doses on time as a large number of citizens become due to receive their final shots next month.
AstraZeneca has reportedly been the primary source of vaccine delivery delays to date. The company, however, told FDAnews that it is not currently experiencing any disruptions to its UK domestic supply chain or delays to its delivery schedule. Moderna’s status is not known although it is believed to be on schedule.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock downplayed the supply squeeze in a press briefing Wednesday, explaining that the government frequently sends out letters with updates on the country’s vaccine supply and stating that the country’s vaccine supply “is always lumpy.” The letter in question, he said, “refers to the focus needed on the particularly vulnerable groups.”
Hancock noted that the country is currently aligned to hit its mark of having vaccine doses available for all 32 million people in its top nine priority groups by April 15.
Pfizer expects to meet its commitments to the UK, a spokesperson told FDAnews. The company, which has agreed to provide the country with 40 million doses of its two-dose vaccine by the end of the year, confirmed that its first-quarter deliveries “remain on track and continue to progress in line with the monthly schedule” agreed to with the country’s vaccines taskforce. — James Miessler