The pace of England’s vaccination programme could be squeezed to 2.7m a week until the end of July, meaning there would be little surplus for first doses until tens of millions of second doses had been administered.
The latest modelling paper, produced for the Sage scientific advisory committee, said that “the central rollout scenario” provided to academics by the Cabinet Office was “considerably slower” than previously used.
That, the document added, amounted to “an average of 2.7m doses per week in England until the end of July (2m thereafter)” which was compared with “3.2m per week in the previous iteration (3.9m thereafter)”.
The projections form part of the model, published on Monday, used by academics from Imperial College London and Warwick University to estimate how coronavirus could spread as restrictions are progressively unlocked by the government.
Ministers have consistently refused to spell out how much of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines will be available in future, leaving the officially sanctioned projections cited in modelling papers as the best available public predictions.
The requirement for second doses in England rises to between 2.1m and 2.4m a week from the middle of April, in response to the speeding up of the vaccination programme during January. On paper, that leaves only a small surplus for new first doses of a few hundred thousand a week.
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