Mass roll-out of Covid vaccine could be delayed for TWO YEARS by Government failure to get to grips with supply chain needed to immunise entire population, expert says
- Experts claim Government has failed to secure items for vaccine supply chain
- Claim they need vials and pallets to store it and refrigerated lorries to move it
- Reports come after professor claimed a third Covid wave is ‘entirely possible’
A mass roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine could be delayed by up to two years because of Government ‘failures’ to bring in vital items needed for the supply chain, according to reports.
Experts claim the Government has so far failed to secure enough medical-grade glass vials to store the vaccine, as well as organise enough refrigerated lorries and aircraft to transport it, once it is ready to be rolled out to Britons.
Insiders working in the logistic and medical sectors also say other items such as pallets to pack the vaccine and PPI to administer it are also in short supply, reports The i.
Chief executive of logistics advisory group 7Bridges, Philip Ashton, who is involved with the delivery of the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) candidate vaccine, told the website that paper that Government is yet to contact the group, or its manufacturing partner AstraZeneca, to ensure supply chain procedures are in place should the vaccine gain approval.
He told The i: ‘I am not aware that the Government has spoken to the OVG about the logistics of getting a vaccine to the entire population yet.
A mass roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine could be delayed by up to two years because of Government ‘failures’ to bring in vital items needed for the supply chain, according to reports. Pictured: A doctor administers a test Covid-19 vaccine to a volunteer
‘We may not get the mass vaccination on the timeline we think.’
Mr Ashton added: ‘Vaccinating the entire population is a real challenge.’
Another source told The i that the issue was of particular concern as countries such as China were already ‘hoarding’ some of the items.
The OVG vaccine, if approved at the end of this year or at some point next year, would require a controlled temperature during transportation or would be rendered useless.
That temperature is around 35-46F and requires refrigerated lorries to keep it at that level.
Chief executive of logistics advisory group 7Bridges, Philip Ashton, who is involved with the delivery of the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) candidate vaccine
However Mr Ashton suggests that the UK does not have enough refrigerated trucks for transporting the vaccine, even if the doses are ready next year.
Some scientists believe the entire UK population needs two doses – one initial and one booster – for the vaccine to be effective. This means more than 120 million doses.
The Government meanwhile says it has already secured early access to 340 million vaccine doses with six separate vaccine developers – though there still may be prioritisation based upon pre-existing medical conditions and age groups.
MailOnline has tonight contacted the Department for Health and Social Care for comment.
The reports come after a top professor warned a third wave of coronavirus is ‘entirely possible’, with lockdowns only deferring the problem.
Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, said that while strict measures stop the immediate crisis and quickly reduce transmission, they do not make the virus go away.
Speaking on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday he said that modelling had previously shown it was ‘entirely possible’ that a second lockdown would be needed in September.
When asked if there could be a third wave of coronavirus he said: ‘That’s entirely possible.
‘The scenario I mentioned earlier does actually include this possibility and this is just another demonstration of what I was saying earlier that lockdown doesn’t solve the problem, it defers its.
‘That’s why we need some kind of cavalry on the horizon or alternatively, if you think that vaccine is not going to be available in six months or 12 months or two years or whenever, it means that we do need alternatives.
Pub industry chiefs blast ‘shambolic’ 10pm curfew as revellers pour out into streets
Pub industry chiefs have blasted the government’s ‘shambolic’ 10pm Covid curfew after revellers were seen pouring into city centre streets and crowding into stations at kick-out time on Saturday night – as social distancing appeared to go out the window.
It comes after shocking pictures showed hoards of revellers flocking to the streets in their droves last night after bars and pubs kicked them out at 10pm.
Now bosses at the British and Beer and Pub Association, a trade association which representing brewers and pub companies across the UK, have urged ministers to review the government-imposed curfew – which they say they were not consulted about prior to the announcement.
They have urged ministers to give venues more flexibility on closing times to allow customers to stagger their exits.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association, who described the curfew as ‘another devastating blow to the beer and pub sector, said: ‘As we have seen this weekend, the hard 10pm curfew has led to the consequence of customers leaving venues and filling the streets en masse.
‘We would like to see the hard 10pm reviewed to allow us flexibility on doors closing time and allow customers to stagger their exits.’
Her comments come after Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said the curfew was ‘ill-thought-out’.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘It’s very clear, across the UK, that this ill-thought-out 10pm curfew, has pushed everyone out of venues with socially distanced measures, into the streets, into off-licences, supermarkets, overcrowded public transport and house parties.
‘Every operator predicted this. Shambolic.’
‘The alternatives that have been mentioned so far are things like the Moonshot programme of mass testing.’
Prof Woolhouse, who is a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), a subgroup of Sage, said that while a vaccine could be available in six months it was unlikely that it could be rolled out at a mass scale in that time period.
He said that Sweden had shown that the virus could be controlled without a ‘strictly enforced lockdown’ and that restrictions needed to be sustainable in the long-term.
He added: ‘I’m afraid I don’t see a way through this in the coming months and even years where we don’t have some restrictions in place. This is the new normal.’
When asked if the Government had modelled any other options to a national lockdown at the start of the pandemic, Prof Woolhouse said ‘basically no’.
His comments come as a further 5,693 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK today – a 46 per cent rise on last Sunday’s total – with Wales’ lockdown set to grow to 60 per cent of the country’s population.
The increase brings the UK’s total cases to 434,969 while another 17 people died of the disease, according the Government’s Covid-19 UK dashboard.
Today’s death toll – which covers deaths in hospitals, care homes and the wider community – brings the total fatalities during the pandemic to 41,988.
Last Sunday saw 3,899 people diagnosed with the bug, significantly fewer than this week’s total – which is the highest Sunday figure since April.
But many experts say the daily totals for testing are not comparable to the same totals at the peak of the pandemic when the country’s testing programme was much smaller.
More than 100,000 people are believed to have been catching the virus every day at the peak of the pandemic.
Today’s figures follow the news that 60 per cent of the Welsh population will be put under coronavirus lockdown from tomorrow after three more council areas are added to the government’s list.
Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will be covered by the rules, which mean people will not be able to enter or leave the areas without a reasonable excuse from 6pm on Monday.
Residents will not be able to meet indoors with anyone they do not live with, with extended households suspended.
Some 344 people tested positive in Scotland, where one further death was reported.
The announcement comes just hours before local lockdown restrictions come into force in Cardiff and Swansea, Wales’ two biggest cities, on Sunday evening.
Neath Port Talbot, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan will be put under coronavirus lockdown from tomorrow
A woman wearing a face covering walks through Cardiff, south Wales, on September 27 before the lockdown kicks back in
Further measures were also introduced in Llanelli, in Carmarthenshire, on Saturday evening.
Restrictions are already in place in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport, and Rhondda Cynon Taf.
It means more than 1.8 million people in Wales – nearly 60 per cent the population – will be under local lockdowns from Monday night.