UK vaccine shortage ‘will not impact’ Island rollout

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And the authorities still expect to be able to offer all adults their first dose by the end of May.

Concerns arose following news on Wednesday that health authorities in England were facing a ‘significant reduction’ in supply of the vaccine during April.

The shortage means people under the age of 50 in the UK may have to wait up to a month longer than expected for their Covid jabs.

A Jersey Health Department spokeswoman said: ‘Any supply impact within the UK will affect Jersey, as that is where we get our vaccines from.

‘But it is anticipated that supply issues will not impact the delivery schedule.’

The unexpected delay in the UK was revealed in a letter from NHS England to health service bosses, ordering them to stop booking first-dose appointments for anyone under 50 during April.

The letter explained that the move was necessary because there would be a ‘significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in the week commencing 29 March’.

Islanders in their 40s had been promised they could receive their first vaccinations from Thursday 1 April, and the spokeswoman said: ‘April supplies may be decreased.’

But she added: ‘The schedule remains in place to have appointments for first doses available for all adults by the end of May, as announced for Phase 2 vaccination the other day.’

Jersey is ahead of the UK in vaccinating its population. The JEP reported on Wednesday that all adults in the Island would receive their first jab by the end of May and their second by the end of August.

The jabs will be given at the vaccination centre at Fort Regent.

Most people over 50 will have now received their first dose but any who have not can still book an appointment for April.

Medicine regulators in the UK have said that fears the AstraZeneca vaccine increases the risk of blood clots are unfounded, and are encouraging people to get vaccinated.

Some countries suspended use of the vaccine but the UK Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said: ‘The benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19 far outweigh the risks. People should still go and get their vaccine when asked to do so.’

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