The British health secretary’s visit to a GP surgery to mark the start of the AstraZeneca jab rollout went significantly off the rails when it transpired that the Covid vaccine’s delivery had been pushed back a day.
“It is great news this morning that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is from, right now, being rolled out to GP surgeries across the country,” Matt Hancock said on Thursday during his visit to the Bloomsbury Surgery in London.
“For the first three days of the Oxford vaccine, we did it in hospitals to check that it was working well – and it’s working well. So now we can make sure it gets to all those GP surgeries, like this one, that can do all the vaccinations that are needed,” he added.
Having previously warned Britons that the only thing slowing down the national Covid-19 vaccination programme was supply, it so transpired that the surgery Hancock was visiting had its first delivery of 400 jabs delayed by 24 hours.
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GP Ammara Hughes, a partner at the Bloomsbury Surgery, told Sky News: “We were expecting our first AstraZeneca 400 [doses] today, but we’ve had a pushback for 24 hours so we’re now getting that delivery tomorrow.”
The media reported that Hughes was overheard telling the health secretary it was critical the surgery receive regular deliveries of the jab to ensure the smooth rollout of the vaccine.
The UK is pushing to administer some 13.9 million vaccines by mid-February, requiring more than two million jabs to be given every week.
The UK has now approved two vaccines, one by Pfizer/BioNTech and another made by British firm AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University.
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The country started its rollout of the AstraZeneca jab on Monday, almost one month after the first inoculations were made with the Pfizer vaccine.
It has been reported that almost 3.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are awaiting batch approval by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and as a result have not been shipped out to vaccination sites.
Only 530,000 of the four million doses delivered by AstraZeneca to the NHS have been ‘batch tested’ and are actually available for use.
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