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U.K. rolls out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

U.K. rolls out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

January 4, 2021: The U.K. has started rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, marking another step in its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The country’s National Health Service (NHS) is the first in the world to deploy the jab after it was approved for use in the U.K. by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) last week.

The NHS said 82-year-old Brian Pinker was the first person in the world to receive the jab Monday morning.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s approval is seen as a boon in the race against Covid-19 as it is cheaper than alternatives created by Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna.

Additionally, it can be stored, transported, and handled at normal refrigerated conditions for at least six months.

When the vaccine was approved last week, AstraZeneca said it aimed “to supply millions of doses in the first quarter” as part of its deal with the U.K. government to supply up to 100 million doses in total.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine adds to a Covid-19 immunization program already started by Britain in December when it began rolling out the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. According to the government, more than a million people in the U.K. have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer dose.

 It stated on Monday that more than 730 vaccination sites have been established across the U.K. and that hundreds more are opening this week once batches have been quality checked by the MHRA.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca dose will be rolled out to priority groups first, including care home residents and staff, people aged over 80, and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in the order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Johns Hopkins University shows the U.K. has now recorded over 2.6 million cases of the virus and over 75,000 deaths to date.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that more restrictions on public life were likely as Covid-19 cases keep rising.

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