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UK says vaccine manufacturing is lumpy - supply not as good as hoped

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LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Britain's vaccine rollout is limited by "lumpy" manufacturing and Pfizer's changes to its production could lead to brief supply disruption, Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Monday.

Zahawi told LBC radio that the United Kingdom was hoping for 2 million vaccines a week from AstraZeneca but that those numbers will not be reached until mid February.

"It's been a bit lumpy," Zahawi said of vaccine manufacture.

"There's bound to be delays. Any new manufacturing process has challenges at the outset, it is lumpy, it begins to stabilise and get better and better week in, week out," he told the BBC.

"The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is a messenger RNA chemical, difficult chemical to manufacture, very very challenging but they're doing really well, they want to do more which is why they're reconfiguring to add volume to the whole world."

"That could delay supply but I'm confident we can meet our target." (Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton)