Britain’s vaccine shortage may delay lockdown-easing plans. An expert has cautioned that, with the shortages in the Covid vaccine supply next month, Britain’s lockdown may continue.
Under Boris Johnson’s ultra-cautious roadmap out of lockdown, all lockdown restrictions are scheduled to be lifted by June 21 at the earliest.
However, a shortage of the vaccine in the UK, attributed to a delayed shipment of 5 million doses from India, could jeopardize Brits’ plans to return to the pub and go on vacation this summer.
The path out of lockdown is contingent on the vaccine drive going smoothly, in order to protect millions of elderly Britons, the majority of whom have already received their first dose, in the event of a third wave.
Dr Simon Clarke, an associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, believes that if foreign countries mandate all visitors to be completely vaccinated before joining, millions of young people might be denied access to summer vacations.
Meeting the Prime Minister’s target dates would be “more complicated,” he said, and if two doses were needed for vacations abroad, people’s options would be restricted.
Due to a vaccine shortage in the United Kingdom, No10 has had to postpone plans to begin vaccinating over-40s in the coming weeks, with stocks set aside for second doses.
‘It would certainly make reaching the target dates for removing restrictions more difficult than it would have been otherwise,’ says Dr. Clarke.
‘By delaying the under-50s’ first doses, their second doses would be delayed as well.
‘If complete vaccination is necessary for vacations abroad or even more boring activities such as going to the movies, millions of young people may be unable to participate for the entire summer.’
Panic over the UK’s own plans exploded last night, when NHS officials wrote a letter to vaccine teams warning that stocks would be cut in half and that they would have to stop handing out first doses by the end of the month.
In the United Kingdom, AstraZeneca’s vaccine was to be the one that provided for the majority of citizens in non-priority categories, with Pfizer’s stocks being used to cover those who were waiting for their second vaccinations.
However, due to a delay in AstraZeneca’s jab shipment from the Serum Institute of India, the NHS does not expect to have enough supply to continue offering jabs to first-timers in April, halting the rollout that has already touched a massive 25 million people.
Ministers have been desperate to convince the public that the country’s attempts to exit lockdown would not be jeopardized.
Last night, Matt Hancock insisted that the UK is on track to meet its goal of providing at least one dose to all adults who request one by the end of July.
‘This isn’t something to be concerned about,’ Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Sky News today.
‘We’re all on track to achieve our goals… Nobody should be upset if they have an appointment; they will always receive their second vaccine, and all of their appointments will be honored.’
The cause of the delay was unclear, with a government source citing a variety of “production problems” but refusing to name the producer.