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As Nadhim Zahawi prepared to leave the Westminster committee room, Greg Clark MP, the science and technology committee chairman, had something to say.
"We do think that openness and transparency to allow people to be treated as adults... has served us well so far," Mr Clark told the vaccines minister. "If we do ask questions, it's because we have the same interest as you do in making it work."
His admonishment came after Mr Zahawi had repeatedly refused to reveal the number of doses due for delivery to NHS England next week and in the weeks to come. During a half-hour appearance before the committee, the minister blamed "moving" batches and the need to protect "national security" for his inability to come up with the numbers.
Mr Zahawi's refusal came even as the Scottish government released its own delivery schedule on Wednesday night, suggesting that the UK is currently receiving fewer than 600,000 doses a week.
The supply plan shows some weeks between now and the end of March with no deliveries of some types of jabs. It suggests that, so far, 5.7 million doses have been delivered, with supplies drying up this week.
Mr Zahawi was accused by the Labour MP Graham Stringer of keeping data on vaccine supplies "secret" and being "phobic" about releasing numbers.
"We're not releasing week-by-week figures, and you will understand why when I explain," the minister said. "The more we say – or dare I say show off – about how many vaccines batches we're receiving, the more difficult life becomes for the manufacturers."
Mr Clark laughed, saying: "They're not going to zoom into the country and confiscate them from us."
But Mr Zahawi said: "The Vaccines Taskforce are right on this, and I've had this discussion with the officials dealing with this. It's not so much only security, and they didn't just talk about national security, it's a security matter as to where deliveries come into and how they then are effectively distributed to the deployment infrastructure."
He added that the numbers could move week by week because "a batch may fail and then another batch comes", saying: "So it would be, I think, misleading this committee and the House to sort of say: 'Oh, this is what we're getting this week,' because they actually do move around. It's part of this supply chain challenge that we have."
Ministers had decided not to follow Israel's example of allowing anyone under 60 to come forward for a vaccine because that would risk missing out the "most vulnerable", Mr Zahawi added.
"In any manufacturing process, especially one where you're dealing with a biological compound, a novel vaccine is lumpy at the outset," he said. "There's no doubt that it was, but it's getting better. It begins to stabilise and you get much clearer line of sight.
"I now have line of sight of deliveries all the way through until end of February, and am getting more confidence about March as well. We have millions of doses coming through in the weeks and then next month and the month after."
The committee heard from bosses at AstraZeneca, who said they were working flat out to produce as much vaccine for the NHS as quickly as possible.
Around 1.1 million doses have been released to the UK to date, but the aim is to reach two million per week on or before the middle of February, by when the Government has pledged to vaccinate almost 15 million people in the four most vulnerable groups.
Despite the challenges, AstraZeneca was confident that it would "imminently" scale up to release two million doses of its vaccine in the UK per week, and may be able to go above that from April.
However, a senior Government source suggested that two million doses a week by mid-February would represent a slight slippage in the schedule, saying: "The delivery schedules move around all the time. Some batches move forward and some move back.
"AstraZeneca said initially they would be able to deliver two million doses a week by the end of January but, as they have said, that has slipped back a little to mid-February. AZ wouldn't have the capacity to do any more."
Asked by Mr Clark to reveal precisely how many doses would be provided to the UK next week, AstraZeneca's UK president, Tom Keith-Roach, declined and said the firm had been asked by the UK Vaccines Taskforce "not to share in public forum in detail daily delivery schedules and locations for security reasons".
"As you can imagine, it's very sensitive – but I can reassure you that we will scale to two million doses per week very quickly," he said. Pressed further, he would only say that the number of doses due for delivery next week was "comfortably" above one million.
As to why the firm had been ordered to keep quiet, that was a "question for the minister".
The committee asked why Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, had promised in May that 30 million doses would be ready by the autumn when only four million were ready in vials when the drug was approved on December 30.
Mr Keith-Roach agreed with one MP that brewing the Oxford vaccine was rather like "growing a beetroot in the garden". One might wish to eat the beetroot early, but it will not be fit for the table until nature has taken its course, he said, explaining: "Drug substance manufacture is a 58 to 60-day process that you cannot speed up."
Each batch of the virus must be grown from mammalian cells, which take time to divide, and cannot be rushed no matter how desperate the demand.
At each stage, the vaccine must be checked for contamination, with around 60 separate tests in total. When the product is ready, the tricky process of decanting it into vials takes time. And before the vaccine is "fit for public consumption" it has to be tested again by the regulator.
"Filling and finishing, packaging, batch release – that takes a further 28 days. If you look in total, you're talking about a three to four-month process," Mr Keith-Roach said.
Even so, MPs pointed out, six months had passed since Mr Sharma made his promise. Why had AstraZeneca failed to hit the 30 million target?
"We were trying to fly the plane and build it at the same time," Sir Mene Pangalos, the executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals research and development at the company, replied.
Entire batches had failed, and the "crude" process of brewing the vaccine had been refined at least five times to smooth out the problems. The firm had also struggled to overcome the UK's lack of manufacturing capability, a problem that "must be addressed" in the coming months and years, Sir Mene said.