Mass UK vaccine could be delayed two years due to logistical failings
September 28, 2020

The mass rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine in the UK could be delayed for two years by the Government’s failure to get to grips with the supply chain requirements needed to ensure everyone can be immunised, experts claim.

Elements vital to the success of the vaccination process are in short supply, including medical-grade glass vials to store the vaccine, refrigerated lorries and aircraft to transport it, PPE when administering it, and even pallets to pack the potential cure, according to those working in the logistics and medical sectors.

One medical logistics expert involved with the delivery of the Oxford Vaccine Group (OVG) candidate told i that the 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 later this year or in early 2021

Vaccinating population ‘a real challenge’

Philip Ashton, chief executive of logistics advisory group 7Bridges, is working with the manufacturers of the Oxford vaccine. He 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.”

Mr Ashton, who has also been advising manufacturers of the Belgian vaccine programme, went on to suggest the UK does not have enough refrigerated ‘cold chain’ trucks for transportation, even if the doses are ready next year.

It is estimated the UK will require up to 120 million doses, enough to conduct an initial vaccination of the entire population, and a booster dose.

If the Oxford vaccine is approved, it would require a controlled temperature of between 2-8°C during transportation or it will not survive.

FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo







Fears over how long the vast majority of people in the UK could wait for a vaccine were fanned on Sunday when a government medical adviser suggested the wait could be two years. (Photo: Reuters)

Supply hoarding

Another source working with the OVG programme confirmed that the group had not been contacted by the Government over the logistical challenges of mass production.

The source, who asked not to be named, said: “It is the Government’s role to source the reagents needed to produce the vaccine, but with many countries such as China hoarding their supplies, I know the OVG is concerned that it will not have enough, and quickly enough, to produce the vaccine in the amounts required.”

Professor Mark Woolhouse, who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) said “alternatives”, such as mass population testing, would be needed to manage the disease.

“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.”

A Government source claimed that early access to 340 million vaccine doses through agreements with six separate vaccine developers have been secured, giving the UK the most likely chance of accessing a safe and effective vaccine at the quickest speed.

They added that while there remains a desire for all of the UK population to be vaccinated, there may need to be an element of prioritisation, based on availability of vaccine supply and evidence on safety and efficacy in different population groups.


Source: https://inews.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-latest-mass-uk-vaccine-delayed-two-years-logistical-failings-663995


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