Boris Johnson announcement tonight to ease rising fears about vaccine shortages

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Boris Johnson will give a press conference at 5pm on Thursday to ease rising fears about coronavirus vaccine shortages.

The Prime Minister will address the nation a day after it emerged the under-50s may have to wait another month before they're offered the jab.

More than 25 million people in the UK have now received a first dose of a vaccine.

But a leaked letter to NHS staff revealed there will be a reduced supply of Covid vaccines in England from March 29.

NHS chiefs have told GPs to focus on delivering second shots to older patients and the over-50s in the coming weeks.

The letter said “volumes for first doses will be significantly constrained” for the following four weeks.

Part of the problem is reported to be a delay of 5million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which was due from India.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted on Wednesday supply is "always lumpy" but that the nation was on track to meet the target of offering a first dose to all over-50s by April 15.

And Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News: "We're sourcing vaccines from all over the world and we are experiencing, occasionally, some issues and that's led to this issue with some supply in the coming weeks.

"But the main thing is we're still very much on course, we've still got line of sight to deliver the vaccines and to meet our targets."

However, it has still led to warnings vaccine supplies could slow the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, said the "ripple effects could last for months".

He added: "It will undoubtedly make the meeting of the target dates for lifting restrictions more difficult than they otherwise would have been.

"By pushing back the under-50s first doses, their second doses are also being pushed back.

"If full vaccination becomes required for holidays abroad or even more mundane things like going to the cinema, millions of younger people may end up being excluded from participating for the whole summer."

Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to meet on Thursday to discuss the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It comes after a dozen European countries suspended rollout of the jab over isolated cases of blood clotting.

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  • Coronavirus
  • Boris Johnson
  • Lockdown

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