THE nationwide roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine could be delayed for TWO YEARS by the UK government’s calamitous handling of supply chain requirements, it has been reported.
These key elements, needed to ensure everyone is immunised against the disease, are in short supply including glass vials to store the remedy.
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Other elements the country is struggling with are refrigerated lorries to transport the cure and pallets to pack it as well as PPE for medics who are administering it, claim sources in the logistics and medical sectors.
This comes despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying this month that a “mass roll-out” of a vaccine could be seen in the early part of next year.
However, a logistics expert working on the delivery of the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) told iNews that Downing Street has not contacted the research team or its manufacturing partner AstraZeneca.
Philip Ashton said he expected the government to be working closely with them to ensure the supply chain procedures are in place should the potential cure get the greenlight in the coming months.
Mr Ashton, chief exec of logistics group 7Bridges, said: “I am not aware that the Government has spoken to the OVG about the logistics of getting a vaccine to the entire population yet.
“We may not get the mass vaccination on the timeline we think. It is doable if the Government commences the planning right now.
“We can expect frontline workers and high-risk populations to be vaccinated by the end of next year, but vaccinating the entire population is a real challenge.”
The logistics expert does not believe the UK has enough “cold chain” trucks used to transport the vaccine.
It has been reported that the Oxford vaccine will need a controlled temperature of between 2C and 8C during transportation or it will not survive.
Britain will require up to 120 million doses, it is estimated, to vaccinate the entire population and also have booster doses ready for those who need them.
Another unnamed source working with the OVG team said Number 10 has not contacted them over the logistics of mass production.
This comes after a government medical adviser suggested people in the UK could wait two years before receiving the vaccine.
Professor Mark Woolhouse, of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), said: “Most of the people I talk to who are involved in vaccine development think that we may have a vaccine in six months, but it’s doubtful that we would have been able to roll it out on a mass scale by that time.”
Meanwhile, a study has found that a fifth of Brits say they are unlikely to get a coronavirus jab – even if one is approved.
The new research highlights “concerning” levels of misinformation around vaccines – with more than half fearing “unforeseen effects”.
Polling by the University College London (UCL) found that three-quarters of 17,500 adults surveyed said they would be “likely” to get vaccinated, with half saying they were “very likely” to do so.
But 22 per cent said this was unlikely, and one in 10 said this was “very unlikely”, with factors including worries about unforeseen effects, preferences for natural immunity, concerns about commercial profiteering, and mistrust of vaccine benefits.
Almost one in three showed substantial beliefs that vaccines can cause unknown future problems, while 15 per cent said they believed to varying degrees that vaccines do not work.