Health boss confirms reduced vaccine supply for North West
A Lancashire health chief has confirmed that the North West's Covid-19 vaccine supply is set to be reduced.
It came after the Health Service Journal (HSJ) reported yesterday "the supply of Covid vaccines to the North West region is set to be cut by around a third in February, seemingly due to national shortages and the need for other regions to catch up with vaccinating their priority groups."
Speaking this morning, Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 vaccination director for NHS Lancashire, confirmed the report.
She assured the public everyone in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation's top four priority categories would still receive their first vaccine, despite reduced numbers.
Ms Scattergood said: "We will complete the top four JCVI priorities by mid-February, even on the reduced vaccine supply.
"We're looking to national NHS leaders and central Government to continue to work hard to increase the supply."
Concerns over vaccine supplies increased this week after UK-based AstraZeneca warned of a reduction in planned deliveries because of production problems.
US vaccine firm Pfizer also said it was working to increase capacity at its Belgian factory.
Yesterday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said supplies "are tight, because these are new manufacturing processes."
He continued: "Any new vaccination process is going to have challenges, it's lumpy and bumpy, it gets better and stabilises and improves going forward."
Mr Zahawi said he was confident the UK would get enough vaccine supplies to meet its dosages targets, and the UK had ordered "367 million doses of vaccines from seven manufacturers."
The supply cut comes as mass vaccination hubs opened their doors this week, including Blackpool's Winter Gardens, helping to roll-out potentially life-saving jabs to thousands over the next few months.
The Gazette's sister title The Yorkshire Post came under fire from from Tory MPs, including vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi last week, after it revealed supplies of the coronavirus vaccine could be diverted from the North East to regions that have not vaccinated as many people to date.
However, the paper was vindicated after Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS England’s medical director of primary care, confirmed the vaccine diversion was taking place.
More to follow.
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