But we were supposed to have a stockpile of 30 million doses by now weren’t we? – Owl
Rhys Blakely, Science Correspondent | Oliver Wright, Policy Editor www.thetimes.co.uk
Two million doses of the Oxford vaccine are due to be supplied each week by the middle of this month as pressure builds on the government to speed up immunisations.
Concerns are growing over the rate achieved so far and the NHS is having to cope with record numbers of hospital admissions driven by a new, more transmissible strain of the coronavirus.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said on Wednesday that only 530,000 doses of the Oxford vaccine would be ready on Monday, despite original plans to have a stockpile of 30 million by the autumn.
A key member of the Oxford-Astrazeneca team told The Times that they expected two million doses to be ready each week in just over a fortnight. The source said that there would be a million ready in total next week, adding: “The plan is then to build it up fairly rapidly — by the third week of January we should get to two million a week.”
Members of the team are frustrated at the pace of production, for which they blamed Britain’s virtually non- existent vaccine manufacturing capacity before the pandemic.
The government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, which was approved this week. Scientific advisers have calculated that at least two million vaccinations a week could be needed, as well as a lockdown that includes school closures, to avoid the pressures on intensive care exceeding the peak of the first wave.
From another Times article “When will I get the Covid vaccine?” (which contains a handy interactive ready reckoner) these are the number of people in the East Devon vaccine queue, assuming everyone chooses to get vaccinated:
17,322 care home staff and residents, frontline healthcare workers and over-80s.
11,738 over-70s and clinically vulnerable
16,442 people at risk
Nationally the numbers are:
4.4 million care home residents and workers, frontline health staff and over-80s
1.6 million over-75s
3.9 million over-70s and clinically vulnerable
2.3 million over-65s
7.5 million at risk people
1.9 million over-60s
1.9 million over-55s
2.3 million over-50s.