EU warned of 'retaliation' from UK on vaccine export ban
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Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of the NHS, advised anyone at risk to book a vaccination slot before the NHS stops taking appointments on Monday, March 29. He urged anyone who is eligible and has not yet received one of the approved first doses of the jab to make an appointment in the next few days as some mass vaccination sites across the UK prepare to close.
The latest guidance also encourages clinically vulnerable patients aged 18 and over to book themselves a slot.
The national booking service used to make appointments will not accept any new bookings for the whole of April in order to ensure a supply of vaccines is available for those with second-dose appointments due that month.
An NHS spokesperson said the vaccine was being deployed “based on manufacturers’ ability to supply jabs.”
They added: “While we expect supply to be constrained, it makes sense to use our resources wisely across the more than 1,600 vaccination sites.
“There are currently no plans to close sites permanently and, most importantly, people in the top priority cohorts will still be able to book their jab close to home.”
Mass vaccination sites in Devon, Kent and Cornwall are all set to temporarily close due to supply issues, with many more potentially closing across the country.
Over 28 million adults have been vaccinated in the UK so far, with roughly seven in ten of those aged between 50 and 54 having received their jab, according to NHS England.
Professor Powis praised the UKs vaccine programme, saying: “It is testament to the careful planning and sheer hard work of staff that the NHS vaccination programme is continuing at a record pace.”
The news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to help get Europe’s vaccination programme back on target amid an escalating trade war that could damage the UK’s vaccine supply chain.
In a joint statement with Brussels, the Government said: “We are all facing the same pandemic and the third wave makes cooperation between the EU and UK even more important.
“We have been discussing what more we can do to ensure a reciprocally beneficial relationship between the UK and EU on COVID-19.”
“Given our interdependencies, we are working on specific steps we can take – in the short-, medium – and long term – to create a win-win situation and expand vaccine supply for all our citizens.”
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“In the end, openness and global cooperation of all countries will be key to finally overcome this pandemic and ensure better preparation for meeting future challenges.”
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