The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine has been hit by supply issues, but Matt Hancock has insisted that appointments “not be canceled”.
In his speech in Parliament today (March 18), the Minister of Health said the NHS was still on track to vaccinate the first nine groups by April.
All other adults will receive their dose until the end of July.
What did Matt Hancock say about the COVID-19 vaccine?
With 12 million second doses due, Hancock confirmed that appointments would not be canceled.
He said they “cannot be delayed”.
Hancock added, “There won’t be weeks in April without first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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“There will also be no cancellations of appointments due to delivery problems.
“In April the supply is tighter than this month and we have to dispense a large number of second doses.
“In April around 12 million people, including many colleagues in this House, will receive their second dose.
There will also be no cancellation of appointments due to delivery problems.
“These second doses cannot be delayed because they must be given within 12 weeks of the first dose.”
Then he addressed the supply issues and said a batch from India was delayed.
“Last week we delayed a batch of 1.7 million doses because stability had to be retested,” he said.
Does this mean changes to the lockdown roadmap?
There are, of course, concerns that limited vaccines could result in the lockdown roadmap being changed or pushed back.
However, Hancock confirmed that it is not.
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He said there would be “no changes” to the roadmap that could not be blocked due to supply problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine from India.
He also announced that the government expects the Moderna vaccine to be delivered in the coming weeks.
“Booster program likely”
Hancock also announced that Britons are “likely” to have to participate in a “booster program” later in the year.
He added, “It is likely that we will need a booster program in the fall to deal with new variations.”
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