COVID-19: AstraZeneca “on track” to deliver two million doses of vaccine per week in mid-February – as it calls for priority access | UK News

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AstraZeneca says it plans to release two million doses of the Oxford vaccine each week by mid-February – and has asked its workers to get priority access to avoid COVID outbreaks hampering production.

“We’ve released just over 1.1 million doses, to date, and we’re increasing very rapidly, as we said. Said Tom Keith-Roach, Chairman of AstraZeneca UK.

“We are going to two million a week imminently, and we certainly hope to be there by mid-February or before,” he told members of the science and technology committee.

Meanwhile, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has confirmed that the government is considering a 24-hour vaccination program to meet its commitment to have the UK’s four most vulnerable groups vaccinated by mid-February.

He told MPs ministers will “absolutely review” the measure when asked about it, adding that he is confident the government will meet its target for next month.

The NHS must speed up inoculations to meet its goal of vaccinating 14 million people in just five weeks.

AstraZeneca has said manufacturing is a biological process that cannot be accelerated, but the company is confident it will deliver tens of millions of doses in the first quarter of 2021.

Its research chief also testified before the committee, telling MPs that his staff should have priority access to the coup.

“One of the things that actually worries me is to maintain a continuous supply and to work on this vaccine,” said Sir Mene Pangalos.

“Of course, with the epidemic and the pandemic it is in, I think it’s essential that the people working on this vaccine are actually vaccinated.

“Because if you have an outbreak in one of the centers – which we’ve actually had – or one of the groups in Oxford working on new variants, or the people who are working on regulatory files, all s ‘stopped.

“This is a concern I have and so, again, we insist on trying to vaccinate our main workers who are working on the vaccine project to try to prevent these outbreaks.

He added that current data shows that an interval of eight to 12 weeks for the second dose of the Oxford vaccine is a “sweet spot for effectiveness.”

The second dose of coronavirus vaccine is now given three months later than originally planned to ensure more people receive a first dose to help fight the rising rate of COVID-19 infection in the UK United.

Previously, England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam had defended the decision to prioritize the first vaccinations, rather than keeping the doses to give booster shots after three weeks.

He told LBC Radio: “We all have older loved ones and if we want to protect as many as possible as quickly as possible, with a significant amount of protection, then the right strategy for us is to give the first initial dose. and come back for the second when we gave more people the first initial dose, ”he said.

“If you have two grandparents and you have two vaccines, what do you do – give one two doses and leave the other with nothing? ”

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