COVID19 in the UK: First person receives Oxford- AstraZeneca jab

Wednesday, 06 Jan, 2021

Dialysis patient Brian Pinker was the first to get the new vaccine shot by the chief nurse at Oxford University Hospital.

He said he was looking forward to celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary with wife Shirley in February.

It began vaccinating medical staff over the age of 50 after delivering just 516 COVID shots developed by Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech during the first week of a campaign that focused on the elderly in nursing homes.

The surge in cases has been driven by the new variant of Covid-19, officials say, and while they acknowledge that the pandemic is spreading more quickly than expected, they say there is also light at the end of the tunnel - vaccinations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a wave of near-lockdowns the weekend before Christmas and warned yesterday that "tough, tough" weeks lie ahead and that tighter restrictions were coming into force: "If you look at the numbers, there's no question we will have to take tougher measures".

All priority groups should get their jabs by mid-February, he said in a nationally televised address, insisting that "we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people".

Steven Brandenburg, who appeared before a judge Monday, "told investigators that he believed that Covid-19 vaccine was not safe for people and could harm them and change their DNA", according to a police statement quoted by local media.

France sought to accelerate inoculations on Monday after an initial roll-out slowed by bureaucracy and government wariness in one of the most vaccine-skeptical countries in the world.

TRIUMPH FOR SCIENCESince the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine started on December 8, Britain has administered more than a million Covid-19 vaccines - more than the rest of Europe put together, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, adding it was a triumph of British science.

The ease of storage and use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine compared with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna alternatives could mean greater access for less wealthy nations in the fight against the coronavirus, which has infected more than 85 million people with more than 1.8 million known deaths.

Tweeting afterwards, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said the NHS "family will come together" to get 13.9 million doses prepared for the most vulnerable by the middle of next month.

More than two-thirds of the 15 million coronavirus vaccines shipped within the United States have gone unused, US health officials said on Monday, as the governors of NY and Florida vowed to penalize hospitals that do not dispense shots quickly. More than a tenth of Israel's population have had a vaccine and it and is now administering more than 150,000 doses a day.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is far cheaper than its rivals, costing about £2.50 ($3.40, 2.75 euros) per dose, making it affordable for developing countries. Britain became the first Western country to approve and roll out a Covid-19 vaccine, although it is months behind Russian Federation and China which have inoculating their citizens for months. The University of Oxford is also working with research partners at a number of clinical trial sites around the world as part of this late-stage trial.

The vaccine is the second to be approved for use in the United Kingdom after the Pfizer/BioNTech jab was given the thumbs-up by regulators at the end of 2020.

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, now known as AZD1222 co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-off company, Vaccitech, is being trialed by the University's Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group.