‘Batch testing’ is reportedly limiting how fast we can roll the coronavirus vaccine out

Boris Johnson wearing a mask having his temperature taken by a nurse
Support us and go ad-free

Boris Johnson has suggested the limiting factor in expanding the UK’s coronavirus vaccine rollout is waiting for batches of the jab to be tested.

Batch testing

Ministers have said the NHS has the capacity to deliver two million doses a week of the Oxford vaccine once it receives supplies from the manufacturers. The prime minister claims the issue is not supply or staff but waiting for batch approval.

He said:

We have the capacity, the issue is to do with supply of the vaccine. It’s not so much a manufacturing issue although that’s part of it. Each batch needs to be properly approved and quality controlled.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Johnson claimed:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

There’s a massive ramp up operation now going on. The rate limiting factor is now not supply of vaccines, although we want that to go faster, it’s getting them properly tested and getting them to the NHS.

It’s not the ability to distribute the vaccine, it’s not the shortage of staff. It’s getting it properly tested. That will ramp up in the weeks ahead.

MHRA

Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told BBC Radio 5 Live the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control batch release biological medicines as their job.

Dr June Raine
Dr June Raine from the MHRA (PA Video)

She added that the process begins before approval is granted, to look at what is needed to do all the right checks and “therefore at the time of approval everything is there and in hand”.

Asked if the MHRA is able to do this as quickly as possible, Raine said:

Yes, and we have scaled up, in the fullness of time, if there are more vaccines, to be able to batch release all of them.

I was really proud last Wednesday when we approved the AZ vaccine, the Oxford/AZ vaccine that we had approved the first batch the night before. We are that nimble and that quick.

She added:

The MHRA is fully scaled up to do the batch testing that’s so important for confidence as the new products come through.

It’s a supply chain that goes right back from the manufacturer, right through to MHRA, and then on to the clinical bedside or where the vaccines are delivered, so we are a step on the road but our capacity is there, I’m very clear about that.

Roll out

The government has secured 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine, enough for most of the population.

While around 530,000 doses are to be available from 4 January, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said tens of millions more are to be delivered in the coming weeks and months once batches have been quality checked.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us