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UK marks one-year anniversary of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

The at-cost vaccine produced in the UK has been administered worldwide

Covid vaccine

It has been one year since the first dose of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was administered, making the UK the first country in the world to do so.

The first recipient outside clinical trials, 82-year-old Brian Pinker, was given the vaccine at Oxford University Hospital.

Around 50 million AstraZenenca vaccinations have since taken place in the UK, aiding efforts to keep people out of hospital in order to reduce mounting pressure on the NHS.

UK health and social care secretary Sajid Javid siad: “Backed by government funding, the UK-made, Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has played an absolutely crucial role in our fight against COVID-19, saving countless lives in the UK and around the world.”

Noted as being the largest vaccination roll-out in British history, the UK’s COVID-19 programme was set up quickly and efficiently, with thousands of vaccination centres nationwide, meaning that around 98% of people lived within 10 miles of a vaccination clinic.

In just over a year, more than 133 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in the UK, including around 34 million boosters, which add vital protection against the latest Omicron variant.

Fronted by the government’s Get Boosted Now campaign, the booster jab roll-out saw a positive spike in vaccination rates during December 2021, with over 8 million jabs administered in just over two weeks in England.

On Saturday 18 December, a new record was set by NHS England for the highest number of vaccinations ever recorded in a single day, totalling 830,000 booster jabs.

Despite his optimism regarding the success of the UK’s vaccination programme, Javid reinforced the importance of adhering to vaccination guidelines to the public: “The UK’s vaccination and booster programme is world leading but with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, it is more important than ever that people come forward for their vaccines and booster to top up their immunity this winter and protect the progress we have made.”

Early government investment in the Oxford University’s vaccine technology team from 2016 aided the UK in its journey to producing the rapid COVID-19 vaccination response, which began in March 2020. More than £88m was poured into R&D and vaccine manufacturing efforts.

With facilitation from The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), support was provided to researchers and the recruitment of thousands of volunteers from across the UK was made possible for phase 3 clinical trials, leading to independent approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

In addition to delivering vaccinations to its own citizens, the UK will donate a further 20 million AstraZeneca doses to countries in need, as part of the government’s wider committent in donating 100 million doses overall.

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

5th January 2022

From: Healthcare

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