- Chris Whitty said vaccine availability issues will 'remain case for several months'
- Government have pledged to give single doses of Pfizer jab to ration supplies
- But manufactures of Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs have rubbished claimsPfizer and AstraZeneca have rejected Government warnings of months-long vaccine supply gaps, claiming there will be enough doses to hit the country's ambitious targets.
England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty this week warned that vaccine availability issues will 'remain the case for several months' as firms struggle to keep up with global demand.
In a bid to ration supplies, the Government has pledged to give single doses of the Pfizer vaccine to as many people as they can - rather than give a second dose to those already vaccinated.But manufactures of both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs have rubbished concerns, saying there is no problem with supply.
Their intervention came after a further 53,285 people tested positive in Britain on Friday - marking four days in a row with more than 50,000 positive tests announced.
And 613 more people have died with the virus - including an eight-year-old child - taking the total official death toll to 74,125.
The eight-year-old died in England on December 30 and had other health problems, the NHS said.
At least one million Pfizer doses and some 530,000 Oxford doses will likely be given to patients across the country next week, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Earlier this month, AstraZeneca boss Pascal Soriot promised the firm will be able to deliver two million doses a week by mid-January - meaning 24million could be immunised by Easter.
The intervention by the developers of the UK's only two approved Covid vaccines came amid a row over ministers' decision to ration vaccine supplies.
Officials have said patients who already had one dose of the vaccine should have their second one - which they were told they'd get three weeks later - postponed for up to 12 weeks.
In a statement published on Thursday night, the UK's chief medical officers said the decision had been made on a 'balance of risks and benefits'.The medical officers are Professor Whitty (England), Dr Frank Atherton (Wales), Dr Gregor Smith (Scotland) and Dr Michael McBride (Northern Ireland).
They said: 'We have to ensure that we maximise the number of eligible people who receive the vaccine.