Vaccines minister admits Pfizer supplies tight, but UK on track for jab target

·2-min read

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has admitted that Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine supplies will be “tight” over the next few weeks, but said he is still confident of offering every adult a first dose by the end of July.

It comes after Scotland’s Health Secretary warned supply of the vaccine will be “particularly tight” over the next few weeks, restricting the vaccination programme’s rollout.

Humza Yousaf has written to his UK Government counterpart Matt Hancock to ask what can be done to increase the supply of the vaccine.

Coronavirus – Tue Jun 8, 2021
Mr Zahawi received his second vaccine dose earlier this week at Lewisham Grove Pharmacy in south-east London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

But Mr Zahawi told LBC: “I am absolutely confident, and I’ll speak to Humza on this, that we will be able to deliver the Pfizer vaccines that Scotland needs to be able to meet its targets for end of July, as the United Kingdom target.”

Asked if it would be “tight” in the next few weeks, he said: “It will be, there is no doubt. Every time I’ve come on your show I’ve said that the determining factor in terms of vaccine-in-arms is supply.

“And supply remains finite, but it is stable, and Pfizer have done a great job in being consistent on their delivery schedule.

“Pfizer have done remarkable things to increase their production, not just for us but for the whole world, for Europe and the US as well. But it is tight.”

He said every country has a delivery schedule, adding: “I’m confident that Scotland will be able to meet the target of offering every adult at least one dose by the end of July, as we will in England as well.”

Pfizer said in a statement: “We are working relentlessly to support the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination campaigns worldwide.

“In the UK, quarter one deliveries (January-March) were completed in line with our contractual agreement and we remain on course to continue to deliver a steady supply of vaccines to the UK, in accordance with the monthly schedule, agreed in advance with the Vaccines Taskforce.

“Decisions on dosing regimens and how best to roll out the vaccination programme to priority groups sit with the health authorities in each country.”

Ahead of a four-nation call on Thursday, Mr Yousaf said Scotland needs more Pfizer/BioNTech doses if it is to “maintain or increase” the rollout.

He said he was “conscious” that a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be used for those under 40 had placed “increased pressure” on supplies.

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