UK vaccine blow: Hancock warns 1.7 million vaccines face delay due to urgent retesting

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock updated MPs on the progress of the immunisation programme after it emerged last night virtually no new first doses of vaccines would be administered in April.

He said there were two contributing factors to the rollout of first doses stalling almost to a hault next month – the need to retest a batch of 1.7 million doses, and a delay in shipment of AstraZeneca jabs from India.

Mr Hancock told the Commons: “In April, supply is tighter than this month and we have a huge number of second doses to deliver.

“During April, around 12 million people, including many colleagues in this House will receive their second dose.

“These second doses cannot be delayed as they have to be delivered within 12 weeks of the first dose.

“In the last week, we’ve had a batch of 1.7 million doses delayed because of the need to retest its stability.

“Events like this are to be expected in a manufacturing endeavour of this complexity and this shows the rigour of our safety checks.”

More to follow…

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