The approaching “significant reduction” in the UK’s supply of Covid vaccines is a result of a temporary export ban by the Indian Government, according to the Indian manufacturer of the AstraZeneca jab. The Telegraph has the story.
The United Kingdom’s vaccination efforts will be paralysed from next month because the Indian government is temporarily holding exports, according to the CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla, whose company is manufacturing the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine.
“It is solely dependent on India and it has nothing to do with the SII. It is to do with the Indian Government allowing more doses to the UK,” Mr Poonawalla told the Telegraph, who confirmed that five million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine had already been delivered to the UK in early March.
The second batch of five million further doses that the SII has pledged to the UK will only be delivered once the company is given the green light by New Delhi, which is deliberating how to slow a concerning resurgence in new daily Covid cases, according to a source.
In addition to debating whether to implement new localised lockdowns, the Indian Government is considering whether it needs to stockpile more vaccines to expand its vaccination programme, which has so far been limited to those over the age of 60 and those over the age of 45 with comorbidities.
British MPs’ criticism of the Indian Government’s alleged use of force against peacefully protesting farmers was not behind the delay, according to a source, with exports to other countries also being held.
The SII would still commit to delivering the remaining five million doses as soon as possible, a source told the Telegraph, and this commitment would not “take months”.
“There was never a commitment to supplying doses to the UK in any stipulated time. We just said we will offer our help,” said Mr Poonawalla.
Mr Poonawalla earlier this year warned that the SII’s vaccine exports would depend on its evolving domestic commitments in India.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: One in five over-80s in England are likely to have had both vaccine doses as of March 14th, according to NHS figures. Some 1.6% of people aged 75 to 79 are also estimated to have had both doses, as well as 0.8% of people aged 70 to 74.