UK Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has warned that the shortage of coronavirus vaccines will “last for months”.
Mr Whitty has told doctors that the lack of bumps is “a reality that one cannot wish for”.
A total of 786,000 people in England received a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with 264,406 shocks over Christmas week, while 944,539 received the vaccine across the UK. reports the mirror online.
The letter from Prof. Whitty, co-authored with senior physicians for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, states: “The Covid-19 pandemic is arguably the greatest health crisis of a generation and it is certainly one of our professional lives.
“We are at a critical point in the pandemic, as the emergence of a novel variant of SARS-CoV-2 with a significantly higher growth rate is rapidly shifting the epidemiological curve in large parts of Great Britain in the middle of winter in the wrong direction.”
It adds, “We need to make sure that we maximize the number of people eligible to receive the vaccine.
“Right now, the main obstacle to this is vaccine availability, a global problem and it will remain so for several months, especially during the critical winter period.
“The availability of the AZ [AstraZeneca] The vaccine reduces this major problem, but does not eliminate it. Vaccine shortages are a reality that one cannot wish for. “
Government ministers originally claimed the UK could have 30 million cans of the Oxford / AstraZeneca surge ready by September 2020.
That promise was later reduced to four million cans by the end of 2020.
In fact, only 530,000 cans were “available for the UK” as of December 30th.
The government said last night that tens of millions of doses will be available by the end of March.
A spokeswoman for the business department insisted that the delay was due to each batch of vaccine being required to meet regulatory standards.
The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) did not set its approval requirements until December 30th.
A government official said: “Batch tests are being conducted to ensure that the vaccines consistently meet these stringent requirements.
“This was not possible until the conditions were set by the MHRA.
“When each batch meets quality standards, they are released and shipped to the NHS and decentralized administrations.”
The UK ordered 100 million cans back in May, but the question has always been how many are available for immediate use.
On May 17, the business department said, “If the Oxford vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make up to 30 million doses available to people in the UK by September.”
On November 4, Kate Bingham, head of the Vaccine Taskforce, said four million doses would be dispensed in 2020. “We haven’t put them in vials yet, because as soon as you put them in vials, you start the clock for … shelf life or how fast you need to use the vaccine. “
On December 30th, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons: “We have 530,000 doses available for the UK as of Monday, millions of which are due from AstraZeneca by early February.”
The news comes amid ongoing concerns about rising coronavirus numbers from the new variant spreading across parts of the UK.
Anthony Gordon, professor of intensive care medicine at Imperial College London and advisor in the intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, said today that doctors’ situation could continue to deteriorate for some time.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “We’ve seen a steady increase since before Christmas.
“We had seen the cases again in October and November, but before Christmas there was a big spike, a lot more referrals every day, and it has continued steadily ever since.
“We are concerned that we do not know when this will stop as more cases are coming.
“It takes about a week for people to get seriously ill, so that number could still go up, and we’re very concerned about that.”