The first people have received the Oxford University/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine today as the NHS expands COVID-19 vaccination programmes across the UK.
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 Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, between two to eight degrees, making it easier to distribute to care homes and other locations across the UK.
In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine will be rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
The Government has secured access to 100 million doses of the vaccine on behalf of the whole of the UK, crown dependencies and Overseas Territories.
More than half a million doses are available today, with tens of millions more to be delivered in the coming weeks and months once batches have been quality checked by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
730 vaccination sites have been established across the UK and hundreds more are opening this week to take the total to over 1,000.
The first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered at hospitals for the first few days, as is standard practice, before the bulk of supplies are sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes later in the week.
The vaccines will be deployed through:
- Hospital hubs for NHS and care staff and older patients to get vaccinated.
- Local community services with local teams and GPs already signing up to take part in the programme.
- Vaccination centres across the country, ensuring people can access a vaccine regardless of where they live.
Current and former NHS staff have applied to become vaccinators, with tens of thousands having already completed their online training. The Government has said these are being processed as quickly as possible and volunteer vaccinators will be deployed as more vaccine supplies become available.
The MHRA, JCVI, and the four UK Chief Medical Officers agreed to delay the gap between the first and second dose of vaccines.
The following hospitals in England will start delivering the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine 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.
Visit the UK Government website for more information about the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The National Care Forum (NCF) shared the results of its second Pulse Survey of the adult social care sector last month, to provide in-depth analysis of how adult social care providers are operating during the second wave of COVID-19.