Short-term delay in delivery of Pfizer Covid vaccine to UK - but plans still on track for four priority groups

Deliveries of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the UK will be temporarily reduced as the pharmaceutical company upgrades its production capacity.

Pfizer is upscaling production at its plant in Puurs, Belgium, in efforts to produce more doses than originally planned for 2021 – leading to short-term delays in the delivery of the vaccine to European countries.

Shipments to the UK are set to be affected this month.

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But the overall number of doses due to be delivered between January and March will remain the same, the company said.

A patient receives the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination hub at the Centre For Life in Newcastle. Picture: PA.

In response, a spokeswoman for the Government said that it is still working to its plan of vaccinating all four priority groups by February 15.

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The vaccine from Pfizer, produced in partnership with BioNTech, is not the only candidate available in the UK, with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca jab also currently being rolled out.

A Pfizer spokeswoman said: “We understand a change to deliveries has the potential to create uncertainty.

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“However, we can confirm the overall projected volumes of delivery to the UK remain the same for quarter one (January to March).

“We continue to liaise with the UK Government and the Vaccines Taskforce to work through short-term impact of these changes to our January deliveries and support the goals of the UK Covid-19 vaccination programme.”

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The UK has secured 40 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.

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A Government spokeswoman added: “We are in the process of understanding the implications of Pfizer’s announcement today to our plans.

“However we continue to plan to hit our target of vaccinating all four priority groups by February 15.”

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