A mass rollout of a coronavirus vaccine in the UK could be pushed back by two years due to Government failures in securing supply chain equipment.
Glass vials to store the vaccine, refrigerated lorries and aircraft to transport it, and even pallets for storage are in short supply, according to industry sources.
In addition, they say there is still not enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for people to administer the jabs once they are available.
Logistics advisory group 7Bridges is involved with the delivery of the Oxford Vaccine Group candidate, but its CEO Philip Ashton say she is ‘not aware’ of Downing Street checking to see if they had everything in place for a rollout.
He says he doesn’t believe Number 10 have spoken to manufacturers AstraZeneca about this either.
Mr Ashton told the i: ‘We may not get the mass vaccination on the timeline we think. It is doable if the Government commences the planning right now.
‘We can expect frontline workers and high-risk populations to be vaccinated by the end of next year, but vaccinating the entire population is a real challenge.’
Vaccines ordered by the UK
- AstraZeneca/Oxford University – 100 million doses
- Janssen – 30 million doses
- BioNTech/Pfizer – 30 million doses
- Valneva – 60 million doses
- GSK/Sanofi – 60 million doses
- Novavax – 60 million doses
Even if jabs are ready for next year, Mr Ashton warned the UK does not have enough ‘cold chain’ trucks to transport the vaccines, which would need to be kept at a controlled temperature of 2-8°C in transit.
Another source told the i that many countries including China are now ‘hoarding’ supplies, fuelling concerns not enough will be left for Britain.
An estimated 120 million doses may well be needed in UK for an initial vaccination of the general population, as some experts have suggested each person will need a booster jab.
Downing Street says it has secured 340 million potential doses between six different producers.
The Government added that while they aim for the whole country to be vaccinated, there may need to be some prioritisation based on supply and evidence of safe, there may need to be an element of prioritisation, based on availability and evidence of success in among different sections of the population.
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