First people will receive Oxford Covid jab today as NHS rapidly extends roll out

The first people will receive the Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine today as the NHS rapidly extends the roll out programmes across Britain.

The NHS is the first health service in the world to deploy the jab, which was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week.

The Oxford jab is the only current approved vaccine which can be stored at standard fridge temperatures, between 2C and 8C.

The Pfizer vaccine, already being deployed in the UK, has to be kept at -70C. More than a million people have received the first dose of the Pfizer jab, according to the latest Government data.

More than 730 vaccination sites have been established across the UK, with hundreds more opening this week to reach a total of 1000.

The first Oxford jabs will be delivered at hospitals before the bulk of supplies are sent to GP-led services and care homes.

The vaccines will be deployed through hospital hubs, local community services and GPs signing up to take part in the programme, as well as vaccination centres throughout the country.

An army of current and former NHS and care staff have applied to become vaccinators, with tens of thousands having already completed their online training. Volunteer vaccinators will be deployed as more supplies become available.

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GPs and local vaccination services have been asked to ensure every care home resident in their local area is vaccinated by the end of January.

The MHRA, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the four UK Chief Medical Officers agreed to delay the gap between the first and second dose of vaccines to protect the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

The vaccine will be rolled out to priority groups including care home residents and staff, people aged over 80 and health and care workers. The rest of the population in order of age and risk will then receive the jab, including those clinically vulnerable.

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.

“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 immunised, I urge everybody to continue following the restrictions so we can keep cases down and protect our loved ones.”

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Where is the Oxford Covid vaccine being rolled out?

The following hospitals in England will start delivering the jab today ahead of the rollout to hundreds of GP-led services later in the week:

  • Royal Free Hospital London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
  • George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

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