A GOVERNMENT minister has admitted that supplies of the Pfizer vaccine will be "tight" over the next few weeks.

Nadhim Zahawi said supply the Pfizer/BioNTech would face constraints, but said he is still confident of meeting the Government's target for adults.

The comments followed concerns last week that lockdown restrictions may not be lifted on June 21 if data on emerging variants suggests so.

Read more: Delays and huge queues seen at Darlington's biggest vaccination centre

This week, Scotland's Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf warned of supply being "particularly tight" as he wrote to the UK Government asking what could be done.

But speaking on supply to LBC, Mr Zahawi said: “I am absolutely confident, and I’ll speak to Humza on this, that we will be able to deliver the Pfizer vaccines that Scotland needs to be able to meet its targets for end of July, as the United Kingdom target.”

Asked if it would be “tight” in the next few weeks, he said: “It will be, there is no doubt. Every time I’ve come on your show I’ve said that the determining factor in terms of vaccine-in-arms is supply.

“And supply remains finite, but it is stable, and Pfizer have done a great job in being consistent on their delivery schedule.

“Pfizer have done remarkable things to increase their production, not just for us but for the whole world, for Europe and the US as well. But it is tight.”

He said every country has a delivery schedule, adding: “I’m confident that Scotland will be able to meet the target of offering every adult at least one dose by the end of July, as we will in England as well.”

The Government is set to decide in coming days whether the fourth and final step of national lockdown restrictions will be lifted on June 21.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has said the easing of restrictions in line with its roadmap is dependent on four main points.

That the vaccine programme continues successfully, vaccines reduce hospitalisations and deaths, infection rates do not overwhelm the NHS, and emerging variants are controlled.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock last week admitted the Government "remained open" to delaying the easing of restrictions if necessary. 

However, just days later Number 10 said there was nothing currently to suggest step four could not go ahead.

Pfizer issue statement

Pfizer said in a statement: “We are working relentlessly to support the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination campaigns worldwide.

“In the UK, quarter one deliveries (January-March) were completed in line with our contractual agreement and we remain on course to continue to deliver a steady supply of vaccines to the UK, in accordance with the monthly schedule, agreed in advance with the Vaccines Taskforce.

“Decisions on dosing regimens and how best to roll out the vaccination programme to priority groups sit with the health authorities in each country.”

Ahead of a four-nation call on Thursday, Mr Yousaf said Scotland needs more Pfizer/BioNTech doses if it is to “maintain or increase” the rollout.

He said he was “conscious” that a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that the AstraZeneca vaccine should not be used for those under 40 had placed “increased pressure” on supplies.