Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain MP Duncan Smith said if there is a delay in manufacturing, the UK order should be given priority.
“The main goal of government support is to ensure a full and timely supply of the vaccine,” he said.
“The test is: will the company be able to meet its full and timely procurement obligation?
“The demand and needs of the UK, as they funded it, should come first.”
As the NHS rushes to protect Britons most vulnerable before spring, the Prime Minister has said vaccine supply was the limiting factor preventing a faster deployment.
As of mid-October, the company’s three suites have been operating at full capacity of 1,000 liters, but a spokesperson has not been able to disclose the number of batches or doses manufactured so far.
A high-level government source said Oxford / AstraZeneca had so far met the vaccine delivery schedule in their contract, but suggested that delays had been created by the requirement that batches of the vaccine be tested by MHRA before being administered.
If the vaccine delivery schedule is not met, the government can sue the company and demand that its contract be prioritized.