UK first in world to start using Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

Friday, 08 Jan, 2021

Pinker said he was so pleased and that he can "now really look forward to celebrating my 48th wedding anniversary with my wife Shirley later this year".

State-run companies in China - where the pandemic began more than a year ago - have also seen their vaccines administered months before trials had finished. The UK Parliament will be recalled to sit on Wednesday.

The UK entered a new nationwide lockdown on Monday, in order to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, which set a new record for infections on Dec 29 when more than 80,000 people tested positive. Some areas in the region have more than 1,000 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

It comes nearly a month after the rollout of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech began, with more than one million people having now received their first dose.

The new lockdown announced by Johnson emulates the first national curbs in place from March to June, and goes further than another instituted in November, when schools were allowed to stay open.

Scotland, which has its own devolved government, has often imposed stricter coronavirus restrictions than those in England throughout the pandemic.

"Now, only five days since regulatory approval of the new vaccine for use in the United Kingdom, a second vaccine is here and ready for use, significantly adding to Wales' defences in the face of coronavirus and protecting our most vulnerable".

He told BBC Breakfast: 'Four weeks ago I had the privilege to be in Coventry for the first jab of the Pfizer vaccine - remember Maggie Keenan got that first jab - that felt like a huge moment in this pandemic and, to be honest, today, when I saw the first jab in the building behind me of the AstraZeneca vaccine, felt like an even bigger moment, another turning point in our way out of this'. An advantage of the newer vaccine, however, is it can be stored at a regular fridge temperature, unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored at -70C.

An allocation of 530,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine has started being administered in six hospital trusts distributed over Oxford, London, Sussex, Lancashire, and Warwickshire.

As of the start of 2021, 4.8 million people in China have been vaccinated, and 800,000 in Russian Federation, according to official figures compiled by AFP.

A "massive ramp-up operation" is now underway in the vaccination program, Johnson said.

Britain was the first western nation to initiate a vaccination programme, with almost a million people having received a first jab by the end of 2020.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted an emergency use license to the Pfizer Biotech vaccine, and one million jabs were delivered to the NHS on Thursday, Dec 3.

Israel, however, has claimed the fastest start to vaccinations so far, saying on Sunday that two million people - around a fifth of its population - would have received both the required shots by the end of January.

Dr McBride said: "The evidence has very clearly shown that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccines provide very high levels of protection after the first dose". The NHS is however under very considerable and rising pressure in the short term.

British regulators said recipients of the vaccine that AstraZeneca will still get their second dose within 12 weeks.

"They should (get vaccinated)".

Northern Ireland and Wales are already under lockdown.

The government closed non-essential shops across London and parts of southeast England before Christmas to try to contain the new variant, but health officials say tougher measures are now needed.

Here is a list of what countries are doing: UNITED STATES The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that altering the authorised dosing or interval schedules of COVID-19 vaccines is premature and not supported by science, while acknowledging that such questions may be "reasonable" to consider. Unions representing teachers have called for schools to turn to remote learning for at least a couple of weeks more due to the variant, which officials have said is up to 70 per cent more contagious.

Professor Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group and who holds the role of Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, said receiving the vaccine was "an incredibly proud moment".