The Prime Minister’s roadmap out of lockdown could now be slowed down after NHS chiefs have warned that the supply of vaccines will fall “significantly” this month.
Local health leaders in England have been told by a letter to ensure no further vaccination “appointments are uploaded” in their systems thorughout April.
Only those who are under 50 and are in a priority group will be allowed to receive the vaccine, NHS officials have confirmed.
Associate Professor Dr Simon Clarke, at the University of Reading, warned the “ripple effects could last for months.”
Dr Clarke said, “It will undoubtedly make the meeting of the target dates for lifting restrictions more difficult than they otherwise would have been.
“By pushing back the under-50s first doses, their second doses are also being pushed back.
“If full vaccination becomes required for holidays abroad or even more mundane things like going to the cinema, millions of younger people may end up being excluded from participating for the whole summer.”
However, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News today, “There’s no concern that we are off course on the road map.”
This is due to a cut in vaccines supplies entering the UK, and this will “continue for a four-week period,” the letter says.
The letter reportedly says, “The government’s Vaccines Task Force have now notified us there will be a significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in week commencing 29 March, meaning volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained.
“They now currently predict this will continue for a four-week period, as a result of reductions in national inbound vaccines supply.”
von der Leyen is preparing to seize control of factories and shipments to the UK under emergency powers, to boost a stockpile of vaccines for the EU.
She has also threatened to block all Pfizer vaccines to Britain, unless the UK made AstraZeneca jabs are sent to the EU.