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UK begins rollout of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Published on 07/04/21 at 11:59am
Moderna building

The first Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the UK has today been administered, beginning the rollout of the country’s third vaccine to fight the virus.

The initial 5,000 doses of the new jab have been shipped to Carmarthenshire in Wales, with the UK set to receive a further 17 million in the coming months – enough to vaccinate 8.5 million people.

The news is a welcome boost to the vaccination effort in the country, which has so far seen more than 31.5 million people injected with their first dose, with more than 5 million having now been fully vaccinated with the Oxford-AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs.

However, fears over the AstraZeneca vaccine, and its potential link to a rare form of blood clotting, have led to delays of up to four weeks, according to government ministers.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully confirmed the Moderna vaccine will be rolled out in England “in the next few days”, while Scotland received its first batch of the jab on Monday; it is expected to begin its delivery later this week. 

The Moderna vaccine was approved by the MHRA on January 8, after showing an efficacy of 94.1% against COVID-19, and 100% effectiveness against severe illness from the disease, in its Phase III trials.

It requires two doses for full protection, similar to the two jabs already used in the UK, and needs to be shipped at temperatures of around -20°C; this puts it straight down the middle logistically, with the Pfizer shot requiring temperatures of -70°C, and the AstraZeneca vaccine able to be stored at regular fridge temperature.

Matt Hancock, UK Health Secretary, said: "I'm delighted we can start the UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine in West Wales today. The UK government has secured vaccines on behalf of the entire nation and the vaccination programme has shown our country working together at its best.

“Three out of every five people across the whole United Kingdom have received at least one dose, and today we start with the third approved vaccine. Wherever you live, when you get the call, get the jab.”

Jack Goddard

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