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First person in the UK given AstraZeneca/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine

The vaccine can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures

AstraZeneca

The first person in the UK has received AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine, less than a week after the vaccine was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Brian Pinker, an 82-year-old dialysis patient, received the AZ/Oxford University vaccine at 7:30am this morning at the Churchill Hospital, which is managed by the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Over half a million doses – approximately 530,000 – of the vaccine will be made available today, with further doses set to become available over the coming weeks and months.

The vaccine doses will be administered 12 weeks apart, rather than the original 21-day gap, as the UK government aims to speed up its vaccination roll-out plans.

The aim of the 12-week gap is to allow more people to receive their first dose, with the UK’s chief medical officers maintaining that “the great majority of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine”.

The AZ/Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine is the second one to be approved in the UK, after Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine was authorised in December.

In comparison to Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, which must be stored at -70°C, AZ/Oxford University’s vaccine can be stored at standard refrigerator temperatures of between +2°C to +8°C.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also announced today that over a million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

It added that the AZ/Oxford University vaccine will be ‘easier to distribute to care homes and other locations across the UK’, thanks to its standard storage temperature.

The DHSC is expecting to deploy the vaccine as part of programmes in hospital hubs, local community services including GP practices, and vaccination centres across the country.

The UK has secured 100 million doses of the AZ/Oxford University vaccine and, including the 30 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, this means the UK has enough vaccine doses for its entire adult population, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week.

“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,” said Hancock.

“Through its vaccine delivery plan the NHS is doing everything it can to vaccinate those most at risk as quickly as possible and we will rapidly accelerate our vaccination programme.

“While the most vulnerable are [being] immunised, I urge everybody to continue following the restrictions so we can keep cases down and protect our loved ones,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

4th January 2021

From: Healthcare

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