Covid: AstraZeneca expects to supply two million coronavirus vaccine doses per week by mid-January

Trevor Cowlett is vaccinated against Covid
Trevor Cowlett was the second person in the UK to receive the Oxford University and AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. Credit: PA

AstraZeneca expects to be able to supply two million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine it has created along with Oxford University to the NHS every week by the second half of January.

This week the number is "only" 500,000 because the company kept the vaccine in "drug substance" form pending approval.

But AstraZeneca is amping up fast and filling vials at a rapid rate.

The government knows this.

But perhaps it is not surprising that Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock are steadfastly refusing to confirm the two million doses per week target, in that vaccine manufacture is far from simple, and they're presumably scarred from all those other targets they've announced and missed during this crisis.

But the politics pushed to the side, it is realistic to expect a massive vaccination programme to be well into its stride within a fortnight, so long as the NHS and the government - led on this by Nadhim Zahawi - sort the logistics.

For all the huge distributional challenges, the centralised nature of the NHS should serve the UK well, compared with the much more decentralised health systems in other countries.