1 min read.Updated: 18 Mar 2021, 04:42 PM ISTBloomberg
The Serum Institute has already contributed to the U.K. supply with doses this quarter, the person said
The supply crunch prompted the government to shift focus and offer remaining doses to the people most at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19
A delayed shipment of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine from India is behind a cut in the U.K.’s supply starting later this month, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Vaccine doses made by one of Astra’s manufacturing partners, the Serum Institute of India, were delayed, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the supply details are private. The Serum Institute has already contributed to the U.K. supply with doses this quarter, the person said.
The supply crunch prompted the government to shift focus and offer remaining doses to the people most at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19.
Adar Poonawalla, the Serum Institute’s chief executive officer, told the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper that the delay had to do with the Indian government allowing the export of the doses to the U.K., and had “nothing to do" with the Serum Institute. In a letter to local health-service groups, NHS England didn’t offer specifics, saying the shortage was the result of reductions in “national inbound vaccines."
The delay comes after Britain announced a new milestone Wednesday -- more than 25 million people have now received a first shot of the vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech SE or by Astra and the University of Oxford. The number equates to about half the U.K.’s adult population.
The government responded to the shortage by saying it’s focusing on providing second doses to the most-vulnerable people who’ve already been offered jabs, and by vaccinating those in priority groups who’ve not yet taken up the offer.
Astra declined to comment on the delay. The company said Wednesday that the “U.K. domestic supply chain is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule."
Serum and the Indian government didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.