Record number of second doses as rollout rebounds despite supply shortage warnings

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The UK has administered a new record daily number of second doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as the rollout of injections continues to roll out at a rate of nearly three million per week despite forecasts of a shortage of April.
Another 475,230 second doses were reported on Sunday – the third day in a row the figure broke its previous record. The number of first doses was 111,109, well below levels seen in previous weeks, with most of the supplies being used to ensure that no one misses their second dose on time.

Last month, NHS leaders warned local immunization teams to expect vaccine supply to drop in April from previously expected, and ordered them not to invite anyone less age 50 for a first vaccine unless you have an underlying medical condition.

Over the Easter weekend, the overall pace of the immunization program fell to its lowest level so far this year, raising concerns that the rollout has slowed significantly. But it has now rebounded at about the same pace as in previous months, suggesting the blip was due to holidays rather than supply issues. There is no sign in the statistics of a drop in coverage following the change of mind on the Oxford / AstraZeneca jab amid fears of rare blood clots.

Over 32 million people across the UK have had their first dose – enough to cover everyone over 50, all healthcare and care workers and those with pre-existing conditions, though a small proportion of the injections went to healthy children under 50. More than seven million people – mostly NHS staff and people over the age of 75 – have received both doses of the vaccine, which is one in nine of the population as a whole.

“Phase two” of the vaccination rollout will not officially begin in England until later this month at the earliest. Ministers and health service officials say all available supplies should be used as a second dose for those who had their first vaccine 10 to 12 weeks ago, or as a first dose for people in priority groups who previously had missed a vaccine or chose not to. accept the offer but have now changed their minds.

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The situation in vaccination centers across the country appears to vary depending on the interpretation of local clinicians of national rules. Some clinics accept “walk-in” requests from people of all ages to avoid wasted doses, while others have been told to destroy all vaccines that cannot be given to priority groups and some would have canceled appointments on short notice for low supplies.

The government will likely only open the national reservation system to younger groups, starting with those aged 40 to 49, when ministers are confident that virtually all older or vulnerable have had a chance to receive their first dose. After the immunization watchdog informed that those under 30 should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca jab, centers will also need to reserve stocks of Pfizer and Moderna for the youngest group rather than administering them to people. in their thirties and forties.

British diplomats continue to negotiate with India and the EU in a bid to increase UK supplies with imports from the Serum Institute of India and a factory in the Netherlands. Both administrations are pressuring manufacturers to prioritize local sourcing over exports.

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