The UK has two issues, (1) they are no longer receiving vaccines as imports have dried up (2) Their increased local production is ramping, there will be a lag and the local product supplies may or may not have sufficient quantity to meet the deadlines for second doses, in addition, the type vaccine may be different - local versus import, AZ versus Pfizer, Novo. etc.
So my take is that they are using up their existing supplies of vaccine in to ensure those who started with Pfizer or Az get their second, while they delay first doses until their local production ramps up.
Note that this is the second time they have had to make adjustments, they initially increased the length of time between doses because of supply issues, now they are also looking at having some folks have dissimilar vaccines, also due to supply issues.
Imports from where have been dried up?
India shipped 5 million, withheld (understandably) 5 million to use domestically:
EU stopped exporting AZ to UK:
Europe has priority on Moderna made in EU, cutting shipments to UK:
Including Dutch made (big row over UK funding):
I agree with the assessment that the UK is cutting 1st doses to give 2nd doses. i also agree the ramp up is taking time. I speculate the UK is concerned with a cut in ingredients for NovaVax, so is delaying approval, perhaps to prevent competition for ingredients? (pure speculation on my part).
NovaVax is ready for fill/finish, late moved to UK:
GSK said it hoped the "fill and finish" process can begin as early as May.
The original plan was for this to be done in Europe once the vaccine product was manufactured by plants in the north east.
I suspect that having paid for vaccine blocked by the EU meant the UK couldn't risk UK made but EU made vaccine wouldn't be commandeered, but that is my speculation.
Pfizer, which still depends on UK ingredients, still seems to be exported to the UK.
I couldn't find the latest AZ production data in the UK.
It was scaling up to 2 million per week:
So the UK made a mistake of funding vaccine production outside of the UK. That lesson has been learned. The money is now being spent to increase UK production of AZ, NovaVax, and Valneva:
Valneva still needs phase 3 trials, but in production.
Made in Scotland:
The reality is, we will have vaccine shortage until we have a surplus. When depends on vaccine hesitancy. Production won't be sufficient for 2021 much less 2Q2021...
Dear Lightsaber, sorry for answering here since it would probably be better in the EU thread...
I believe your opinion is strongly influenced by the US and British press, that in generally does seem to have much comptent for the EU. I believe many American and British fail to understand how instrumental Europe was in developing the different Covid vaccines on the market (Moderna/Pfizer/J&J/AZ). I'm not diminishing the tremendous work done in the US and UK. But while the huge involvement of US and UK is fully a knowledge in Europe, the reverse doesn't seem the case.
About your link to Moderna:
The journalist seem simply wrong. Being Swiss, I can tell you that Switzerland is very much impacted by the Moderna shortfall. Will I'm not certain about the EU, seeing the German Moderna deliveries over the last weeks, I assume EU deliveries are also affected by the shortfall. How Moderna will catch up, and if differance there will be seem between EU, Switzerland, UK, and Canada, I can't say.
In a wjs article they say: "[Moderna] but didn’t specify others beyond Canada an UK". I assume the journalist in our article interpreted that as EU not affected.
What I found more than worring than the shortfalls, is the communication from both Moderna and AZ. Indeed both seem to inform on the day of deliveries (if they even inform) despite them knowing well in advance.
In the Bloomberg article the journalist infers the problem being in Switzerland: "Moderna, which is working with Swiss partner Lonza Group AG to make the shots in Europe, attributed the reduction in deliveries to a slower-than-expected ramp-up of production capacity."
But we know that the "fill & finish" and delivery takes several weeks. Hence not being able the doses must have been well known before. Or did the try to ask the White House to allow them to ship some active ingredient to Spain from the US and were denied? But even in that case the shortfall should have been known earlier.
In Switzerland the federal health department informed the Cantons on Thursday that since Moderna was going to ship more over the next weeks, they should stop keeping the second dose in reserve. But on Friday only an handfull vaccines arrived. That a big shipment was expected on Friday only makes it worse. Over the weekend there was a spat in the media with some officials from cantons blaming the federal government of incompetence...
I personally don't think the deal with GSK making the "fill and finish" has anything to due with the spat over AZ and worries about EU export ban. I think it was just a chance for the UK to strengthen its pharma sector (not a critic on my part). For the NovaVax supply the UK is still dependant on EU or US supply chain (I belive for example the Matrix-M adjuvant is not produced in the UK).
The story about Croda International and the lipid nanoparticles was in my opinion massively oversold by the British tabloids. Well Croda certainly plays a role in the vaccine production, I found on the Internet that Pfizer/BioNTech have several suppliers of the lipid nanoparticles...
Interestingly some IP for lipid nanoparticles used by Pfizer/BioNTech belongs to Canadian based Acuitas Therapeutics. Avanti Polar Lipids has a licence from Aquitas to produce those lipids. Avanti Polar Lipids was bought by Croda in summer 20 and signed a deal with Pfizer in November 20...
You know that I too have big hope for that vaccine, and see it as a possible solution for people hesitant about vaccination. The EU seems to have gone full mRNA, hence Valneva doesn't seem to fit the portfolio anymore. I think it is a good strategy of them to speak directly with member states and I can see France for example buy a few doses...
I personally belive this hole thing about EU export ban was solely about AZ. I don't think people will agree here if the steps taken by the EU were right or wrong.
Just a few remarks:
In your Guardian link, Breton says the UK didn't pay for the Dutch plant (he says this was confirmed to him by the plant manager). This seem rather logical to me. I assume the UK government paid AZ to develop manufacturing and not individual plants...
So while British and US media likes to point out that UK invested in AZ production, they seem to overlook that the EU also paid upfront (I believe 400 Mio Euro)...
Also I don't know if you have seen this politico article, but if not it should be anoted interesting read. One of the main point of the article is that AZ actif ingredients (aka the vaccine before fill and finish) was sent to Europe from the US...
Best regards and stay safe,