UK holds secret talks with India to get AstraZeneca jab supply back on track & secure 5 million doses for under-50’s

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UK holds secret talks with India to get AstraZeneca jab supply back on track & secure 5 million doses for under-50’s

THE UK is holding secret talks with India to get the AstraZeneca vaccine supply back on track, it’s been reported. The Indian government i

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THE UK is holding secret talks with India to get the AstraZeneca vaccine supply back on track, it’s been reported.

The Indian government is said to have blocked five million jabs that were set to vaccinate Britain’s under-50s – but intergovernmental talks are now “underway” to resolve the issue.

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Brits are bracing for a vaccine shortage in April, because India have allegedly ‘blocked’ the supply

Matt Hancock told MPs that a “delay” to a shipment of five million AstraZeneca jabs from India was a factor in the shortages.

As a result, the pace of the vaccination rollout is set to be slower in the coming month.

And a further 1.7 million doses of the jab have been delayed because a large batch already in the UK needs to be re-tested.

But Downing Street did not deny a suggestion from the head of the Serum Institute of India (SII) that the Indian government was temporarily blocking exports of the Oxford AstraZeneca jab.

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of SII, said no further doses would be sent to Britain until the Indian government gave the go-ahead.

He said: “There is no vaccine shortage.

“There was never a commitment to supplying doses to the UK in any stipulated time. We just said we will offer our help.

“India has allowed five million doses to go to the UK.

‘SECRET TALKS’

“The balance will be decided to be given to the UK at an appropriate time by the Indian government while balancing India and all its needs.”

Asked when the UK would get its remaining doses, he added: “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.”

However, British officials are understood to have opened diplomatic talks with prime minister Narendra Modi’s government about lifting restrictions on exports to the UK, the Daily Mail claims.

A Whitehall source said there was a “constructive dialogue underway to work through issues” with counterparts in New Delhi.

When questioned if the Government is in talks with India, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We’re in constant contact with other governments around the world.”

At yesterday’s press conference, the Prime Minister promised that despite some issues with supply, the NHS was still on track to deliver a dose to every adult by the end of July as planned.

All second doses would be given, and there would be more doses available than in February, he claimed.

The Prime Minister said: “The supply we do have will still enable us to hit the targets we have set.”

He also stressed that there was “no change to the next steps of the roadmap” and Britain would continue to unlock if the data continued to go in the right direction.


The PM added: “Our progress along the road to freedom continues, unchecked.

“We remain on track to reclaim the things we love, to see our families and friends again, to return to our local pubs, our gyms, our sports facilities and of course, our shops.”

And Matt Hancock previously thanked the Serum Institute of India “for the incredible work that they’re doing, producing vaccine, not just for us in the UK, but for the whole world”.

 



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