LOCKDOWN in the UK could be extended following recent Covid-19 vaccine supply issues.
Health experts have warned that volumes for 'first doses' of the vaccine will be "significantly constrained" from the end of March.
More than 25 million people in the UK have received their first dose, but the National Health Service (NHS) has warned of a month-long "significant reduction" in weekly supply of the jabs.
It's understood that the Indian government has delayed shipment of around five million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine - bound for the UK - to prioritise its own needs.
India-based Serum Institute, who are mass-producing the Oxford-made AstraZeneca vaccine, were apparently scheduled to deliver the shipment to the UK in the next few weeks, but are now claiming that no such schedule had technically been agreed with Britain.
It's thought the vaccines will now arrive a month later than planned, which could seriously jeopardise the UK's lockdown exit plan.
According to the plan, all public health measures will be lifted on June 21, and despite the latest hiccup, Ministers are insisting that the country is "still on track" to meet that target.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in the House of Commons today: "We have a delay in the scheduled arrival from the Serum Institute of India," adding that 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have also been held up because experts have had to "re-test its stability" following weeks of speculation that the jab is unsafe.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News: "This isn't anything that people should be worried about. We are still on course to meet our targets... Nobody who has an appointment should be concerned, you are still going to get your second vaccine, all those appointments will be honoured."