The UK could reportedly have enough coronavirus vaccines for every British adult by the end of June.
The country is set to receive 100 million Oxford/AstraZeneca doses in the first half of the year, on top of 20 million doses from Pfizer and around 17 million from Moderna.
This means the UK will reportedly have more than enough supplies to cover all 53 million adults in the next five months if no supply issues ensue.
Only a small increase to the current rate of 3 million a week is needed to roll out jabs to the whole population by the end of June, including giving second doses to vulnerable groups, according to analysis from the i.
It comes after Matt Hancock confirmed on Friday that the beginning of May is the Government’s target for all over-50s to get their first dose of the vaccine.
However, there’s also the possibility for all adults to receive one jab as well as all vulnerable groups receiving two by the end of June, the i newspaper reported.
Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccines Taskforce, told MPs last year that she expected 100 million Oxford AstraZeneca doses by the first half of 2021.
While Downing Street insiders have reportedly warned that vaccine supplies could be disrupted, a senior government source told the i that the timetable still stands and AstraZeneca has not indicated any delays to its commitment.
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The No 10 source reportedly said: “Depending on supplies, we are hopeful that the vaccines roll-out will continue to accelerate. But as with all highly complex programmes it remains possible that it will be disrupted at some point.”
The government has kept tight-lipped over specific timetables to the vaccine roll-out beyond its aim to cover all NHS staff, over-70s and clinically vulnerable people by mid-February.
But the health secretary recently said: “We are on track to meet the commitment on 15 February. My plan is that we should be able to offer a vaccine to everybody in categories one to nine, that’s all the over-50s, by May.”
He warned that “lots of things have got to go right to hit that goal, especially supply” but said added that he was sure it could be achieved “if we keep going at the pace we can”.
It comes as The UK government and biopharmaceutical firm CureVac (CVAC) have announced a new partnership to collaborate on development of vaccines against COVID-19 strains.
The collaboration will utilise expertise, resources and technology from both sides to develop and manufacture vaccines for commercial use and distribution in the UK and its territories.
The vaccines are subject to regulatory approval from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
But the government has ordered an initial 50 million doses to be delivered later this year if required.
“This is exactly the kind of work that will stand us in good stead as we continue our monumental national effort to end this pandemic and return to normality,” vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed the partnership on Twitter (TWTR) and said that the UK must be “prepared for all eventualities.”
Kwarteng added: “I can also confirm the agreement will allow large-scale manufacturing in the UK.”
Yahoo has contacted the Cabinet Office for comment.
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