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Sturgeon: Dip in Covid vaccine supply will not affect July target on first jabs

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A shipment of the AstraZeneca jab from India has encountered problems with the head of the Serum Institute of India (SII) suggesting the country’s government may be blocking exports to the UK.

The Scottish Government has said that people in the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) priority groups will be offered a vaccine by the middle of April, while an offer of a first dose will be made to the whole adult population by the end of July.

Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood / PA Wire

Speaking before First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said there would be approximately 500,000 fewer doses coming to Scotland in the next month.

“At present we expect that over the next month we will have approximately 500,000 fewer doses than we had previously anticipated,” she said.

“For that reason there may be periods in April where we need to prioritise second doses.

“However, I want to be clear today that we do still expect to offer a first dose of the vaccine to the remaining JCVI priority groups by the middle of next month as planned. We also still expect to have offered a first dose to all adults in the population by the end of July.”

Ms Sturgeon’s assertions were backed up by the National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, who appeared at Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee on Thursday.

While Prof Leitch said this would have a proportionate effect on Scotland, it would not impact on targets to vaccinate all priority groups by mid-April or all adults by the end of July.

Our present understanding is we can still meet the mid-April offer for the first nine groups of a vaccine and we can still meet our end of July target for the whole adult population

He said: “Our present understanding is we can still meet the mid-April offer for the first nine groups of a vaccine and we can still meet our end of July target for the whole adult population.”

However, more thought will have to be given about how the rollout continues after the April target, Prof Leitch said.

“It will inevitably mean that after the top nine, we will just have to think about who comes next and when they come next.”

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