CUMBRIA’S director of public health has responded to concerns over reduced supplies of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The number of jabs being delivered is due to be cut across the county, according to models.

A modelling paper produced for the Government’s Sage scientific advisory committee said the pace of England’s vaccination programme could be squeezed to 2.7 million a week until the end of July.

It would leave little surplus of first doses until tens of millions of second doses had been administered.

The group’s paper said that ‘the central rollout scenario’ provided to academics by the Cabinet Office was much slower than previously used.

That amounted to ‘an average of 2.7 million doses a week in England until the end of July (two million thereafter)’, which was compared with ‘3.2m a week in the previous iteration (3.9m thereafter)’.

Public health boss Colin Cox has sought to dispel any fears over supply of the vaccine and a delay in delivering the jab.

He said: “There is a reduction in supply

“We know we are seeing less coming into the country as a whole.

“We are doing more second doses than first doses.

“It’s just the way things are.

“The programme has been hugely successful and we still expect cohorts one to nine to be completed by the middle of this month.”

Under-30s in the UK are to be offered an alternative Covid vaccine to the AstraZeneca jab due to the evidence linking it to rare blood clots, it was announced yesterday.

It comes after a review by the UK drugs regulator found that by the end of March 79 people had suffered rare blood clots after vaccination - 19 of whom had died.

The regulator said this was not proof the jab had caused the clots but the link was getting firmer.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said that any risks of the jab were outweighed by the benefits.

Those who have received their first dose of the AZ jab should continue to be offered a second dose of the same jab.

England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, called the move ‘a course correction’ and said there should be zero or negligible impact on the timeline for the UK’s vaccine rollout.

Speaking before yesterday’s announcement, Colin Cox said: “To emphasise, the vaccine programme is widely considered very safe and very effective

“I would encourage who can get a vaccine to do so.”