Temporary halt of first jab appointments at mass vaccination centres in April due to reduced supplies

Inside Thanet's vaccination centre at Saga (Photo KCHT)

A temporary halt for first jabs at the mass vaccination centres in Kent and Medway, including the Saga building in Thanet, will take place during April due to a shortage in vaccine supplies.

A memo from the NHS last week warned that there would be a “significant reduction” in AstraZeneca vaccines after March 29. The shortage is forecast to last three to four weeks.

In a statement to the House of Commons last week Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the shortage was due a delay in a scheduled arrival from the Serum Institute as well as the need to retest a 1.7 million-dose batch.

As a result mass vaccination centres and pharmacy-led services across the country have been asked to close unfilled vaccine appointment bookings from March 29 but GPs will keep bookings open for both first and second doses.

Mr Hancock said: ““There will be no weeks in April with no first doses. There will be no cancelled appointments as a result of supply issues. Second doses will go ahead as planned.”

The Prime Minister has confirmed that Government has procured enough “second doses that people need within the 12 week window…and we will still offer a first dose to every adult by the end of July”.

The first vaccines from manufacturer Moderna are expected to arrive in the UK in April. This vaccination received UK authorisation in January.

Pulse Today reported that a letter from the NHS to GPs said: “The supply constraint means vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led local vaccination services should close unfilled bookings from the week commencing 29 March and ensure no further appointments are uploaded to the National Booking System or Local Booking Systems from 1 to 30 April.”

The government has insisted that all over 50s will receive a jab by April 15 and all adults by July 31.

Kent Community Health Trust oversees operations at all of Kent and Medway mass vaccination centres.

A spokesperson for NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group said“The NHS vaccination programme continues to make strong progress across Kent and Medway vaccinating over 800,000 people.

“In line with available supply, our vaccination centres will continue to offer appointments for second doses and GPs will continue to contact eligible patients for vaccinations throughout April.”

Messaging from the community health trust says: there will be limited appointments for first doses at the large vaccination centres throughout April.

✅Second doses are not affected.
✅ If you have a second dose booked at any site, please attend.
✅There are still appointments available for first doses until the end of March.
✅If you are aged 50 or over please book now via the national booking system or by calling 119.


  1. What a fantastic operation.
    Well done to everyone.
    I received my 2nd vaccination yesterday 23/03/2021. However, two observations, (1) The ticket I was handed on leaving stated that it was my first vaccination. I now have two of these. -One hand written the other typed (2) I did not get my lapel sticker stating I was a big clever boy. 🙂

    Two first vaccination cards will be contradictory at any departing point from the UK

  2. if you are with certain surgeries logging on to your patient record summary will show dates that you have had the vaccinations allow a couple of days for the system to update after you have had the jab

  3. 49.5 years old. So near and yet so far. I was really hoping to get mine soon.

    Well done to all involved so far let’s hope it reopens and the 45 to 49 year olds can get jabbed next ASAP. Lots of my friends who are 49 without underlying health issues have been called for their jabs who live outside our area.

    • As long as you’re otherwise fit and healthy (non-smoker, not overweight), the chances of a female in her 40s getting seriously ill with Covid are minimal, particularly if you’re Caucasian too.

      • What is the scientific basis for this statement. A bit of a cavalier attitude towards how nasty this can be across all age ranges.

        • I was trying to reassure Alice, but it IS well known that if you’re male, old, fat or black/bame, then each one of these increases your chances of illness.

          The overweight bit needs emphasising more. I personally know of a 28 year old female who has had the vaccine because she weighs around 15 stone.

        • What does “minimal” mean?
          Do you have any scientific evidence to show that being BAME increases your chance of illness? Isn’t it more the case that social conditions lead to less satisfactory outcomes for far too large a fraction of our society?

          • A PHE report last september (iirc) looked at the outcomes from covid for 10,000 BAME patients, once underlying conditions were taken into account, the outcomes were no different to any other section of society.
            As you point out its the underlying conditions and the causes of them that make the difference.
            Also as Peter points out excess weight has been seen to make people especially susceptible to poor outcomes .

  4. Isn’t the headline a bit confusing?
    The centres aren’t closing. They’ll still be honouring booked vaccinations, but not booking any new ones.

    • The mass vaccination sites will not be open according to letters sent to community health trust staff, however I am still waiting to hear whether the part of the site used by the GP hubs will remain operational.

  5. So what happens to people who’ve got a second vaccination already booked at one of these centres?
    Will they be told individually?
    Will they have to contact a GP to make a new booking?
    Your piece actually says “As a result mass vaccination centres and pharmacy-led services across the country have been asked to close unfilled vaccine appointment bookings from March 29”
    If people don’t read the IoTN, how will they know not to travel (sometimes considerable distances) to the centre for their second vaccination?

  6. I’m really quite alarmed.
    I’ve just checked my booking for my second dose and it still confirms the venue (Folkstone) and the date and time.
    If you can shead some light, Kathy …

    • I’m volunteering at the Saga center this afternoon, I’ll ask the question, I’m booked to work there through out April.

        • Saga closing on the 1st April through to the 11th, they’ll opening certain days (to be arranged) for the second jab…….but what I found interesting (and some of you may already be aware) the GP’s (at Saga who are privately owned) are pushing people to book your jab through them as they get £13 per jab!! there appears to be quite an aggressive push by GP’s for you to get your vacation through them, which probably explains why the NHS side are extremely quiet…..so if you want to be in and out in 15mins, book through the NHS

  7. I received advice today 27.03 offering appointments for second jab. I used internet and both myself and my wife secured appointments for second jab on 30.03.

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