Coronavirus UK news update – Britain's superspeed vaccine rollout to be 'paralysed' as covid-hit India stalls on supply

BRITAIN'S superspeed vaccine rollout could be "paralysed" in the coming weeks as Covid-hit India stalls on supplies.

Our incredible jab effort – the key to getting Britain back to normal life as quickly as possible – is expected to be held up as India grapples with its own covid crisis and may be considering stockpiling the vaccines for itself.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII) which is manufacturing the UK-bound AstraZeneca vaccine, said the forecast slowing of supplies is nothing to do with his firm not producing enough.

"It is solely dependent on India and it has nothing to do with the SII. It is to do with the Indian Government allowing more doses to the UK," Poonawalla told The Telegraph today.

He confirmed that the UK had already received five million doses from his firm earlier this month, but admitted a second batch of five million doses wouldn't leave India until the Indian government gave it the green light.

The news comes as the UK's incredible vaccine rollout appeared to be taking effect with daily Covid deaths plummeting.

The number of deaths from coronavirus being reported per day is falling at a faster rate than it did towards the end of the first wave, figures show.

Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic

  • John Hall

    'NO DISRUPTION'

    Astrazeneca has said its supply of the Covid jab in the UK is “not experiencing any disruption” – after the NHS warned of a dip in supplies from the end of March.

    NHS England today said there had been “reductions in national inbound vaccines supply” and asked organisations to ensure no further appointments were uploaded to booking systems in April.

    NHS bosses said that as a result, people under the age of 50 should only get the jab if they are in a priority group for the vaccine.

    But the reasons for the slowdown remain unclear, as Astrazeneca said this evening: “Our UK domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule.”

  • John Hall

    ONLINE SHOPPING HERE TO STAY

    With many high-earning employees not expected back in the office full-time, the 'home nesting' that became a feature of the pandemic is set to continue – leading to sustained higher spending on home offices, gym equipment and renovations, a new report by McKinsey has found.

    Online grocery shopping and virtual healthcare appointments are also expected to rise even as the Covid-19 pandemic recedes, while spending on remote education and digital entertainment will dip, the study found.

    The report, based on surveys of consumers in China, France, Germany, the UK, and the United States, analyzed a series of pandemic-induced spending behaviors to predict which would outlast the crisis.

    Two groups whose behaviour McKinsey predicts will have an outsized impact on how the post-pandemic economy functions are high-income, middle-aged women, and younger, high-income earners.

  • John Hall

    VACCINE VERDICT

    Europe's medical regulator is set to give its verdict on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Thursday, following a chaotic few weeks that has seen nations suspend its use over blood clot fears.

    There are "a number of options" open to scientists at the European Medicines Agency, its chief said earlier this week, including suspending approval for the jab in the EU, with the bloc's innoculation programme already scrambling for vaccines.

    Despite more than a dozen countries pausing rollouts, the EMA says it has found "no indication" of a serious problem and that the number of post-jab blood clots is no higher than it is among the general, unvaccinated population.

    The World Health Organization said Wednesday it was better to take the AstraZeneca vaccine than not — adding that it was looking into available data on the shot.

  • John Hall

    RISK OF CATCHING COVID CUT BY A THIRD BY LIVING WITH SOMEONE JABBED

    The risk of catching Covid is cut by a THIRD if you live with someone who has been vaccinated, it was revealed tonight.

    Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said data from vaccinated healthcare workers in Scotland suggests that immunised Brits are far less likely to pass on the virus.

    Dr Mary Ramsay tonight unveiled a raft of new data that shows the real-world impact of Britain's jab rollout.

    She told the Downing Street briefing: “Data from Scotland suggests vaccinated healthcare workers have a 30 per cent lower chance of passing infection on to their household contacts. 

    “This is the first evidence we have of a reduction in transmission from vaccination. This means the more people we vaccinate, the more we reduce the spread of infection”. 

  • John Hall

    EU TO AGREE COVID PASSPORT SCHEME

    The EU is set to agree to a Covid passport scheme that will allow jabbed Brits and those with antibodies to travel.

    The bloc will publish details of its “digital green pass” in order for people to go on holiday in time for summer, it’s been reported.

    The EU’s passport will allow those from non-EU countries to travel there if they are “in a position to present certificates under a system deemed sufficiently reliable,” according to a leaked document obtained by Bloomberg.

    It comes as pressure piles on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as Brits eagerly await news of when they can travel abroad again.

    The digital pass will also allow travel for those who have tested negative or who can prove they have gained a level of immunity having recovered from Covid, the document states. 

  • Alice Peacock

    VACCINE PASSPORTS NOT ENCOURAGED FOR 'ETHICAL AND SCIENTIFIC' REASONS

    WHO Regional Director Dr Hans Kluge said the WHO was not encouraging the use of "vaccine passports" for both "ethical and scientific" reasons.

    "It should not be a requirement for a number of reasons," he told a press briefing on Thursday.

    "First, ethical. There is a global shortage of vaccines so this would increase the iniquities and if there is one thing that we have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic it is that the vulnerable people were hit disproportionately.

    "Second, a scientific reason. We are not sure yet how long the immunity lasts once a person gets the Covid-19 vaccine and paradoxically if you get the vaccine you may be protected but still you can transmit the infection."

  • John Hall

    ‘VACCINE SAVING THOUSANDS OF LIVES’

    The Health Secretary has urged Brits to get their jab as soon as they are called as figures show death rates plunging in recent weeks thanks to the vaccine rollout.

    “Deaths from Covid are down by over a third in the last week again and the vaccine is saving thousands of lives right now here in the UK and it can give us all hope,” he said.

    “All of this underlines how important it is that when you get the call, get the jab.

    “To anybody who still has concerns or any doubt about getting the jab, we know that the vaccine is safe and helps makes you safe.

    “It gives you this protection.”

  • John Hall

    CONTINUED

    He added: “The strategy of going big, bold and early has clearly paid off.

    “Furthermore, delays to restrictions have meant them needing to be tougher and longer-lasting than in other countries, thereby worsening the economic damage.

    “The Covid-19 pandemic has touched everyone, but lower-income families have borne the brunt of the crisis in terms of their lives and livelihoods.

    "This shouldn’t be forgotten as we look to rebuild post-pandemic Britain.”

    The report praised the successes of the vaccines programme and furlough scheme.

  • John Hall

    PM BLAMED

    Some 25,000 Brits were killed by Covid because Boris Johnson delayed the latest lockdown, experts have said.

    The Resolution Foundation blasted the PM for dithering just when the super-infectious Kent coronavirus strain was ripping through Britain.

    Mr Johnson’s delays also meant lockdown ended up having to be longer, meaning Britain’s economy took the biggest battering of the whole G7, the think-tank added.

    Mike Brewer, of the Foundation, said: “Going timidly and late on lockdowns has been a disaster, causing many thousands of avoidable deaths.”

  • John Hall

    WHERE IN UK ARE COVID CASES STILL RISING?

    Coronavirus cases are still rising in 121 places in England and this interactive map reveals if your local area is on the list.

    Official data from Public Health England (PHE) states that in the last seven days, 190 areas have seen a fall in infection rates.

    Of the 121 places that have seen a rise in cases over the last week, there are five local authority areas that have witnessed a sizeable increase.

    While Corby is the most infected local authority in England it has also seen the biggest week on week increase in cases.

    Public health chiefs in the area have this week insisted that the reopening of schools has nothing to do with the spike in cases in the area.

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