The UK’s vaccination programme is expected to slow down next month amid a shortage of supplies.
It comes after a record-breaking week that saw 840,000 jabs delivered on Saturday alone, double the seven-day average a few days earlier.
Nearly 29 million people have now received a first dose, while over 2.5 million Brits have had both jabs.
It means more than 50% of the adult population are protected from Covid ahead of lockdown lifting next week.
Ministers say the plan to offer a first dose to all adults by July is on track, despite admitting upcoming vaccine supply will be ‘lumpy’.
People in England aged over 50 and in at-risk categories are being urged to book their Covid jabs before Monday, when slots are set to dry up.
Officials expect a slowdown in vaccine supplies in April – and medics will be focusing on providing second doses.
As a result, several mass vaccination centres have announced they will close for around a month.
Centres in Devon, Kent and Exeter are among those affected.
Why are some Covid vaccine centres closing?
Earlier this month an NHS letter warned the UK faces a ‘significant reduction’ in Covid vaccine supplies from March 29, for an estimated four-week period.
The letter – which has been sent to local vaccination sites across the country – said volumes for first doses are going to be ‘significantly constrained’.
Health Secretary Matt hancock later said that the upcoming vaccine supply would be ‘lumpy’ in April because of a reduction in doses available.
He told MPs the drop was caused by a need to re-test the stability of 1.7 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses as well as a delay in jabs from the Serum Institute of India (SII).
India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the Oxford jabs made by the SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, amid an increase in domestic demand due to a surge in infection.
Government officials are said to be in touch with counterparts in New Delhi to get the second batch of five million doses which were ordered from SII.
The doses are expected to be held up by four weeks, affecting supplies until the end of April.
Which vaccine centres are closing?
Vaccination sites in Devon, Cornwall and Kent have confirmed they will ‘have to pause’ because of national supply issues.
All of Kent’s five mass vaccination centres are set to close ‘for a period of around two to three weeks’, but second doses will go ahead as planned.
The closure, which will be from Thursday, April 1, will affect the centres in Folkestone, Gravesend, Chatham, Tonbridge and Thanet.
Meanwhile the Westpoint centre, near Exeter, has revealed it will close between April 1 and 11.
In Cornwall, NHS Kernow confirmed there will be a pause to vaccine appointments at Stithians and Wadebridge.
The two centres will be affected during the first half of April, although exact dates have not officially been given.
Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chairman of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said first jabs would be paused in some parts of the county – but stressed there was no issue for second doses.
Anyone aged 50 or over can book themselves in for their first dose before March 29 using the national booking system for England.
People aged 18 and over who are clinically vulnerable should also book themselves in for a vaccine.
GPs said they will continue contacting eligible patients on their lists and offering vaccines to anyone who has not had one so far.
Will the vaccine centres reopen?
The Department of Health and Social Care said there will be no permanent closures of vaccine centres.
The Government said it is sending the available doses to areas which have ‘further to go’ in the vaccine rollout.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Get your need-to-know
latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more