AstraZeneca ‘on track’ to deliver two million doses a week – as it calls for priority access
Written by on 13 January 2021
AstraZeneca says it expects to release two million doses of the Oxford vaccine every week by mid-February – and has asked for its workers to get priority access to avoid COVID outbreaks hindering production.
“We’ve released just over 1.1 million doses, to date, and we are scaling up as we’ve said very rapidly. And this will happen imminently, to releasing two million doses a week, we’re absolutely on track to do that,” said Tom Keith-Roach, president of AstraZeneca UK.
“We’re scaling up to two million a week imminently, and certainly we hope to be there on or before the middle of February,” he told MPs on the Science and Technology Committee.
AstraZeneca’s research chief also gave evidence to the committee, telling MPs his staff should get priority access to the jab.
“One of the things that I’m worried about is actually maintaining a continuous supply and work on this vaccine,” Sir Mene Pangalos said.
“Of course, with the outbreak and the pandemic where it is I feel it’s critical to the people that are working on this vaccine are actually immunised.
“Because if you have an outbreak at one of the centres – which we’ve had actually – or in one of the groups in Oxford is working on new variants, or the people that are working on the regulatory files, everything stops.
“This is a concern that I have and so again we’re pushing to try and get our key workers that are working on the vaccine project immunised to try and prevent these outbreaks.”
He added that current data shows that an eight to 12 week interval for the second dose of the Oxford vaccine is a “sweet spot for efficacy”.
The second dose of coronavirus vaccines are now being given three months later than originally planned to ensure more people are given a first dose to help fight the UK’s rising COVID-19 infection rate.
Meanwhile, vaccines minister Nadim Zahawi told MPs he is confident the government will achieve its target of offering a vaccine to all those in the four most vulnerable groups by the middle of February.