LONDON, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A need to retest 1.7 million vaccine doses as well as delays to doses arriving from India are the reasons why Britain is facing a "tighter" supply in COVID-19 jabs next month, British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Thursday.
"In the last week, we've had a batch of 1.7 million doses delayed because of the need to retest its stability," Hancock told lawmakers in the House of Commons, lower house of the British parliament.
"Events like this are to be expected in a manufacturing endeavour of this complexity and this shows the rigour of our safety checks," he said.
"And we have a delay in a scheduled arrival from the Serum Institute of India (an Indian biotechnology and pharmaceuticals company)," he added.
His remarks came after National Health Service (NHS) England warned Wednesday that Britain is going to face a "significant reduction" in vaccine supplies from March 29 onwards.
Britain is "currently right now in the middle of some bumper weeks of supply", Hancock said. "In April supply is tighter than this month and we have a huge number of second doses to deliver."
AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company, has said in a statement that its domestic supply chain in Britain "is not experiencing any disruption and there is no impact on our delivery schedule".
A spokesperson for the Serum Institute of India said: "Five million doses had been delivered a few weeks ago to the UK and we will try to supply more later, based on the current situation and the requirement for the government immunisation program in India."
The British government has announced that more than 25.2 million people have now had their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. According to the British Department of Health and Social Care, almost 50 percent of all British adults have received a jab.
Experts have warned Britain is "still not out of the woods" amid concerns over new variants and the risks of the public breaching restriction rules.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. Enditem