Published: 21:00, 04 March 2021
| Updated: 11:16, 05 March 2021
The temporary closure of mass Covid-19 vaccination centres is part of a planned 'dip' in the rollout, says a Kent MP.
The mass vaccination sites in Tonbridge, Folkestone and Gravesend are due to be shut over the next few days, with appointments that had been made being rescheduled.
The pace of the vaccine rollout is to slow down before picking up again in mid-March
Smaller sites in those areas will remain open as usual.
But Tonbridge and Malling MP Tom Tugendhat says it was always the plan to have a 'dip', as greater capacity in the production of vaccines was required to deliver second doses as well as continue with the rollout of first doses.
He told KMTV: "The machines are being re-tuned. In order to do that a few of them are being taken offline and so production has gone down so afterwards production will be even greater than before.
"Now is a moment when almost everyone in those extremely vulnerable groups has now been done."
A statement on his website added: "In the last two weeks of February and at the start of March we will expect a small drop in vaccine supply.
"This is because of changes to the manufacturing of vaccines, as all suppliers ensure that they can continue to provide enough vaccines for many months to come.
"However this will be rectified by the middle of March, to help manage capacity in the long term."
Commenting on the temporary closures, Gordon Flack, deputy chief executive of Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the centres, said: "The number of appointments available is based on vaccine supply and more appointments will be available as supply increases again.
"Anyone affected by the change in opening times will be contacted."
The slow-down comes at the same time as everyone aged 60 and over has been invited to book a jab.
Frontline social care staff who have not yet had their first dose are also being urged to get vaccinated.