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NHS bosses warn of ‘significant reduction’ in vaccine supply for four weeks

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The number of people getting the first dose of their Covid-19 jab will be “constrained” as a result of a reduction in the supply available, health officials have said.

NHS leaders said there will be a “significant reduction” in the weekly vaccine supply available from the week beginning March 29.

A letter to regional NHS bosses says that the reduction will continue for a “four-week period”.

Local health leaders have been told to focus efforts on the top priority groups in the letter, signed by Dr Nikita Kanani, medical director for primary care for the NHS in England and Emily Lawson, chief commercial officer.

“The Government’s Vaccines Task Force have now notified us that there will be a significant reduction in weekly supply available from manufacturers beginning in the week commencing 29 March, meaning volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained,” the letter states.

“They now currently predict this will continue for a four-week period, as a result of reductions in national inbound vaccines supply.”

The letter adds that inviting people for jabs who are not in the top nine priority groups is “only permissible in exceptional circumstances”.

It adds: “Those aged 49 years or younger should not be offered vaccination unless they are eligible via a higher cohort because they are e.g., clinically vulnerable, unpaid carer or frontlinehealth and care workers.”

Last week Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told the Women and Equalities House of Commons Committee that the NHS could expect a “big uplift in supply” in the second half of March.

It comes as the Government celebrated reaching the milestone of getting 25 million adults jabbed in the first 100 days of the vaccination programme.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that more than 25 million people have received their first vaccine and 1.7 million have had their second vaccine.

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