An apparent fall in the number of Britons being vaccinated against COVID-19 each day is down to “supply fluctuations”, England’s deputy chief medical officer has told Sky News.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said it “will take a few months” before vaccine manufacturers are able to produce doses in a “steady routine”, adding that “global supply restraints” have also hampered the UK’s vaccine rollout.
He said supply would continue to be unpredictable as the manufacturing process is “a bit like beer-making”.
Nearly 18 million Britons have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
However, the UK’s daily totals have dipped since the total topped 15 million earlier this month.
On Monday 22 February a total of 192,341 doses were administered across the UK – a drop from the 275,956 on the previous Monday (15 February).
Meanwhile, 141,719 doses were administered on Sunday 21 February – a fall from the 237,962 given a week before (on Sunday 14 February).
Answering questions from Sky News viewers, Prof Van-Tam was asked about the “slowdown” in the rate of vaccinations, and said: “There are always going to be supply fluctuations.
“These are new vaccines, by and large the manufacturers have not made them or anything like them before.
“The process of making a vaccine is where you set the equipment up and leave it to do its thing, a bit like beer-making really.
“What you get at the end is not something you can say is identical every time in terms of the yield – the amount of doses that you can then make from that batch.
“You do get batch-size variations and that is natural and it will take a few months before the manufacturers really get into this confident, really steady manufacturing routine.
“On top of that there are global supply restraints.”