People have started receiving the Oxford/AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine following its approval last week by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
The NHS has become the first health service in the world to deploy the vaccine, with 82-year old hospital patient Brian Pinker being the first person to receive the jab on Monday morning.
More than half a million doses of the vaccine are available today, with the Government hoping that tens of millions more doses can be delivered in the coming weeks and months.
The vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine to be rolled out in the UK, after the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was given for the first time on 8 December.
In England, the first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will be delivered at hospitals at six different hospital trusts in Oxford, Sussex, Warwickshire, Lancashire and two trusts in London. The vaccine will then be rolled out to hundreds of GP-led services later this week.
There are currently more than 730 vaccination sites across the UK, with this number set to grow in the coming days.
Speaking about the new vaccine, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, “I am delighted that today we are rolling out the Oxford vaccine – a testament to British science. This is a pivotal moment in our fight against this awful virus and I hope it provides renewed hope to everybody that the end of this pandemic is in sight.”
The rollout of a second vaccine in the UK comes at a time where millions face tougher restrictions due to a new, more transmissible strain of COVID-19. On Sunday, Labour Leader Sir Kier Starmer called on the Government to implement a new national lockdown ‘within 24 hours’ and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted that tougher restrictions may be on the way.
On Sunday, a further 54,990 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the UK, while a further 454 people were recorded to have died from the virus within 28 days of a positive Coronavirus test.