Matt Hancock warns vaccine supply remains 'tight' as Yorkshire and North East approach one million jab milestone

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that vaccine supply across the country continues to be “tight” but said the NHS would deliver every shot of the jab made available to it.

Speaking from Downing Street this evening Mr Hancock said 78.7 per cent of all over 80s had now been inoculated against coronavirus, a statistic he said “delighted him”.

But he added: “The rate limiting factor to this vaccination programme remains supply. As we know, supply is right.

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“We’ve had a very strong performance in this past week, and I’m confident that the NHS will be able to deliver every shot that’s made available to it.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: PAHealth Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: PA
Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Photo: PA

In the House of Lords earlier today, health minister Lord Bethell addressed the issue of supply.

Yorkshire Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven said 45,000 people had been vaccinated via GP hubs in the city.

“But due to lack of vaccine supply, 10 out of 15 will be closed and not be able to get the jab into people's arms or vulnerable people's arms until the middle of next week,” he said.

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“Yet the new Sheffield mass vaccine centre has opened today and has vaccine. Local GPs have asked me to ask the minister, why has the distant mega centre been getting priority for vaccine supply over the local and effective GP hubs?”

But Lord Bethell said: “It's not a question of one place having precedence over another.”

He said: “There will be some people who get through their list more quickly than others, it would be a mistake to then start asking them to move down the list when there are those who are still at a very high priority who need yet to be vaccinated.

“Although I understand that it may be frustrating for a GP to stand idle, those are the practicalities of what we are doing. The mass vaccination centres are essential to deal with the very large numbers of people that we plan to vaccinate over the next few months. That is why the Sheffield vaccination centre is such good news.”

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Mr Hancock said progress towards vaccinating the top four priority groups by February 15 is “on track”.

He said that 6.6m people had now received a jab, more than one in nine of the adult population, and in the last week 2.5m got a vaccine, at a rate of more than 250 people per minute.

NHS England data shows that in Yorkshire and the North East - the NHS region for which figures are recorded - vaccinations are now likely to be nearing the one million mark.

A total of 998,863 jabs have been given to people in Yorkshire and the North East between December 8 and January 23, including 927,119 first doses and 71,744 second doses.

And taking into account jabs administered over the two days the current figures do not yet cover, this is now likely to be nearing or having surpassed one million.

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